Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Trouble with Teddy

this one's for E, lolling on a hawaiian beach with his new wife and not worrying about what to wear for halloween or what i am doing without him to ride with (ans: eating a lot of candycorn and smarties). Flying Spaghetti Monster is way cooler than trampy alice.

driving to work this morning i saw a little girl waiting for the bus in her halloween costume. she was dressed as a nurse and she looked like betsy, had her long wavy brown hair and splinter of a body, and i remembered when betsy and i went trick-or-treating in donnybrook. betsy was a doctor, because a nurse wasn't bossy enough for someone who had to be the boss of everyone, and i was a trumpet player. i had a plastic trumpet with the brass already flaking off like fairy dust, and a epauletted-coat and matching trousers my mom found in the salvation army shop. i looked like somebody on the sgt pepper's cover.

before dusk fell i met betsy at her apartment. she was a pretty good doctor i thought. she had a big white coat, a stethoscope and one of those mallets you bang people's knees with. she banged me on the top of my head.
- ready?
- yes - i yelped.
- hold on. i have to get captain kirk.
captain kirk was betsy's guinea pig. she took him everywhere. she brought captain to kirk to school once, sassed the teacher who told her guinea pigs didn't belong at school and got suspended for 3 days. that was fun because i pretended to be sick and betsy, captain kirk and i made a fort under etienne's window and decorated his windowsill with sculptures made from chewed-up gum. then my mom figured out i didn't have a fever after all and i had to go back to school.

betsy flitted back from her room stuffing captain kirk into one of her voluminous pockets. captain kirk put up with a lot, but he also got all the licorice jelly beans he wanted.
- okay here's the plan – betsy proposed.
- there's a plan? i thought the plan was obvious: get as much candy we could before we had to be back at 8. i should have expected more from a doctor.
- of course there's a plan, stupid. the plan is this: we get as much candy we can before 7:30.
- why 7:30?
- because at 7:30 my dumb brother is calling his girlfriend in ohio.
- so?
- and while my dumb brother is calling his dumb girlfriend, we're going to soap his car.
- oh no we're not!
betsy's brother had a baby-blue chevy nova sedan that he washed every weekend. the tires always looked brand new. he gave me and betsy a ride to sultana's once, and for the entire 10min ride i was petrified with fear and excitement. teddy was a Burnout, one of the untouchables who smoked in the school parking lot. he was forbidden to me and therefore i had a crush on him the size of a small planet.
- we can't soap teddy's car. he'll KILL us!
- don't be a baby. he won't know who did it. it'll be funny. come on, you're not scared, are you?
when you're 11, you don't understand peer pressure. you only understand the novelty of a friend who isn't imaginary, so you go along with any numbskull idea she comes up with. she's a doctor, after all.

so for 2 hours we cased the neighborhood and filled our candy sacks with 3 musketeers, milk duds, necco wafers and reese's peanut butter cups. on halloween you know there is a god because there's no other explanation for the largesse that drops into your hands. then betsy looked at her watch.

- it's time – she said. i tasted reese's at the back of my throat. i was really hoping she'd have forgotten. you're not chicken, are you? - she thrust her face in front of mine and flapped her white arms. bawk bawk! captain kirk stirred restlessly in her pocket.
- no i'm not chicken - i quavered - are you sure your brother won't find out?
- no way. he'll be all kissy-kissy with bronwynloser. they baby-talk for hours. it's so gross. come ON.
i let betsy lead me back to the parking lot where teddy's nova was pointedly parked across 2 spaces.
- i'll do the windshield and you do the other windows, okay? ... okay?
- okayyyyy - i wailed plaintively. betsy pulled a white bar of soap from the non-captain pocket.
- here. you start.

- me???
- just do it, you big baby. i took the soap from her gingerly, as though it were a dead animal. do it across the window, right here - she swooshed her hand in an invisible Z over the rear window - let's GO. we don't have all night.

with great trepidation I approached the window. i raised a trembling hand and had just touched a dot to the nova's window when an apparition appeared behind it: a glowing white face with black eyes and lips, howling, snarling, pummeling the window to get at me. i screamed and dropped my candy bag, backing away from the monster that was leering at me and squeaking bulbous fingers down the window, a monster with a white face and a nimbus of springy curls, curls nobody else had but... teddy. betsy was doubled over with laughter. i was enraged and crying at the same time.
- NOT FUNNY!! - i hollered while teddy opened the door and tumbled out of the back seat.
hoo hoo hoo – he whistled as he giggled, and then he snorted, which ramped up betsy even more. she fell on her butt laughing so hard i thought she might puke like she sometimes did if she laughed too hard or ran too fast.
- NOT FUNNY! NOT FUNNY! - i continued to yell. i was afraid i'd wet my trumpet player pants and shouting seemed the best diversion.

tears tracked pink trails down teddy's face, and betsy was still hitching silently, then her face suddenly froze as her hands patted down her coat. she stood up abruptly and began to hop on her toes, looking frantically from side to side.
- what's wrong, sis? – asked teddy.
- captain kirk! captain kirk is gone!! no no no – she ran in small circles next to teddy's car - we have to find him!

for the next next 2 hours we combed the parking lot and lawn looking for the guinea pig. teddy knocked on all the doors in their building and collected 4 flashlights; and we crawled under parked cars, crept under every bush and even looked into the sewer with betsy's hand mirror. captain kirk was gone though, boldly going where no guinea pig had gone before and probably shacking up with babes from other apartment buildings. betsy was inconsolable, of course, and when i finally got the call to come back home she gave me all her candy and told me she would never go trick-or-treating ever again.

i didn't see betsy for a couple weeks after that. then one saturday she knocked on the door and asked if i wanted to fingerpaint with pokeberries and i did, so we made indian drawings on the laundry room door and though etienne's mother probably knew it was us we never got in trouble.

happy halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

reason #10.5 why i love mac: Leopard review


Leopard's been out long enough that all the technorati have weighed in. if you want reviews full of insight and depth, you can read pc world, slashdot and pogue. two resources i found particularly helpful were Leopard: Should You Upgrade? and this List of Applications Not Compatible with Leopard.

in short, if you absolutely positively need your shit to run without any glitches, you prob shouldn't upgrade now. but you knew that. however, if in this bleak world you need a nipple of hope to suckle on, knock yourself out. because Leopard will show you how things COULD be in a perfect user-centric environment.


the boring background stuff

[macbook pro, 2.33ghz intel with 2G ram]

a clean install where you blow away everything and start from scratch is obviously your best bet. not for me. getting XP and MS office running on parallels was such a monumental task that i ended up going with the Upgrade install for Leopard because i was afraid i wouldn't be able to get XP running again. how fucked and telling is that.


another reason to love mac? no licenses, no registration, no nothing of the kind for Leopard. stick the disc in and run. FUCK YOU MICROSOFT.

the Leopard user manual is 3 sentences of installation instructions and 60 pages of new feature highlights. Leopard took about an hour to install, easypeasy, asking nothing of me beyond my installation choice. like a colonoscopy, it's the prep, not actual procedure, that's the bitch. backing up my system (i used SuperDuper -- free!) was the biggest pain, just because it took several hours, during which i got sucked into cleaning out my 240G music folder and 2am sat morning found me dancing to "vogue" in the dining room. yeah, my weekends go OFF.


the really really good stuff
the finder ("explorer" for you poor windoze ppl)
is how life should be. apple's porting the swish Cover Flow UI that's so successful on the iphone/itouch over to the conventional OS. scrolling left to right, or up & down will visually march you through your files. that's right: you can see a preview version of the beginning of your doc without opening the native app. verrrry noice.


this is especially useful for scrolling through pix and for confirming a Turd or PDF doc is the one you're looking for before opening it up. hitting the space bar shows you the entire doc -- still within the Finder.

doesn't play with all apps, obviously: visio docs are simply icons, for ex. but IMO this Quick Look feature, along with Cover Flow, are worth the Leopard pricetag.

but there's more. there's Spaces.
Spaces allows you to create virtual monitors and tab easily (the response is immediate) between however many views you establish. you can assign apps to always appear in a defined space, or you can drag & drop windows in the collective view.

if you habitually find yourself wading through eighty-million open windows just to replay that new puscifer song in itunes, you will find Spaces inVALuable.

Time Machine's autobackup functionality is a good idea in theory but apple needs to invent a virtual external harddrive (pref firewire) that's as itinerant as me and my Lapple.

so those are the big hits. there're secondary ones, like safari's widgets collusion and improved tab UI. sometimes it's the little things that make a diff, you know? -and safari tabs now have nice modeless feedback: when you pull a tab out of the lineup, it changes to a iconised window to set the expectation you're creating a new window, but if you pull it downward again it morphs back into a tab. oh apple, you're so GOOD.

the not-so-great stuff

other stuff, like duded-up iChat, exacting parental controls and integrated Mail -- meh. and Leopard's not perfect. i had problems with net access -- firefox and safari would not work, while i could get to the outside world via terminal and, ironically, itunes -- until i installed the Login & Keychain update (which would seem to have SFA to do with browser access, but w-e).


parallels runs, but not without inexplicable "timeout" error notices (that have no effect AFAICS). open office 2.3 runs too, but i get a “command timed out” error upon loading and neither the OO or X11 dock icon will bring to front a doc i've got open -- making that Spaces feature even more useful. the latest version of GIMP is incompatible, and i'm not even opening the adobe CS can of worms, but if you're considering adopting Leopard and you're not reliant on the so-far unsupported apps, take the leap.


what i like about Leopard is that it makes me more efficient and organised.
and happy. happy's a big one.


UPDATE:  today parallels released a beta update for 3.0 (build 5540) optimised for leopard.  since updating, i haven't had any more "timeout" funniness.  That Was Easy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

por A

this morning alexey sokolov won the dublin marathon in 2:09:07; the first female, alina ivanova, finished 20min later. congrats to fa(s)tmammycat, who ran a solidly-paced race, running the last quarter of the race faster than the first. that is how "real runners" run, fastcat.

i ran my first -- and i swear on Z's HoL my ONLY -- marathon 6 years ago, right after i'd had my iliac bypass surgery and needed to test the new plumbing. what better incentive than running a marathon? to increase the likelihood of a Finn Cheering Squad i ran in my hometown, and parents, grandparents and almost-forgotten friends from high school came out to watch.

when my mom and i ran the Race for the Cure a couple weeks ago we talked about my grandfather and the influence he still wields today, 5 years after his passing.
-- i remember the first time i ran the Lady Equitable - my mom said. the Lady E was a 10K that ran through the city's inner harbor. it was a spring rite of passage for my high school track team too, though our coach turned a blind eye because the official stance discouraged road racing during the track season. - and i was SO nervous. i didn't get any sleep the night before and i couldn't eat anything that morning because i thought it would just come back up.
- because you'd never raced 6 miles before?
- no, because your grandfather was there. the running part of the race didn't scare me at all.
- aw mom he would have been happy no matter how you ran.
- finn you don't understand. you were the granddaughter. his relationship with you was much different than mine. you could have been lazy, no-good deadbeat and he would have loved you the same. but he never forgave me and weird sister for not being sons.

that may be so.
and when i crossed the finish line far off the boston qualifying time i'd planned to run, i met no recriminations or awkward silences. just congratulations and helpful hands that wrapped me in mylar and bustled me to a sunny patch where i sought to dispel all the lactic acid in my quads and hamstrings by eating a hootenanny of bananas.

por Z


[from the oct 8th new yorker.]

Friday, October 26, 2007

saul williams needs no priests to talk to god

saul williams and trent reznor have had a little thing going on ever since the former opened up for a chunk of the aWithaTeetha tour. you can hear williams' influence on TR in capital G, and you'll hear TR's influence on 11/1, the release date for saul william's third album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! it's williams' third album and his first produced by reznor.


if you want to obtain NiggyTardust! lee-gal-lee, you can pre-order it online, selecting one of two payment (or not) options:
I want to directly support the artists involved in the creation of this music: cost - $5
I'm not concerned about that. I just want the music: cost - $0

either way, you get DRM-free tracks playable on any device (not just iTooonz), plus PDF'd art & lyrics.

so saul williams is going the way of radiohead, taking out the middleman and going straight to the consumer. though williams doesn't enjoy the ginormous fanbase that radiohead does, you can bet your sweet patootie that a passel of NIN fans will hop on the ride... and really, how can you lose on $5?

this evolving business model is the best thing to happen to the music industry since, well since a janitor in cleveland decided to rub some samples the wrong way. even better would be an option to, after the fact, up your ante and pony up more cash if you thought the music really sang because ultimately it's all about the music anyway. so here's a saul sampler, from his 2nd self-titled album:
-- list of demands - prob his best-known song. earworm fer shur.
-- grippo - virtually indecipherable live, this one grows on ya. grippo!!
-- control freak - not much to this other than vox and skins, but leave the toast be unless you don't mind marmalade globs on the counter
-- black stacey - my fave SW song. autobiographical: biting and hopeful at the same. last verse is eminem's wet dream:

Now here's a little message for you.
All you baller playa's got some insecurities too,
that you could cover up, bling it up,
cash in and ching ching it up,
hope noone will bring it up,
lock it down and string it up.
Or you can share your essence with us,
'cause everything about you couldn't be rugged & ruff.
And even though you tote a glock
and you're hot on the streets,
if you dare to share your heart,
we'll nod our heart to its beat.
And you should do that, if nothing else,
to prove that a player like you
could keep it honest and true.
Don't mean to call your bluff but
mothafucka that's what I do.
You got platinum chain then,
son, I'm probably talking to you.
And you can call your gang,
your posse and the rest of your crew.
And while you're at it get them addicts and the indigent too.
I plan to have a whole army by the time that I'm through
to load their guns with songs they haven't sung.


Happy Leopard Day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

history repeats

the mid-atlantic's getting much-needed rain, while soCal burns.


there's an active fire forum running on the LA craigslist: people volunteering their F150's, wondering how to get a lasagna to the firefighters, and seeking to match abandoned pets with owners forced to flee so quickly they left the doors to the house wide open hoping that buddy would find his own way. then there are the those like our friend fallbrookian below. this forum's a wiki-novel, just writing itself.

Listening to Police Scans About Pendleton < Audioverite > 10/24 00:48:56


The fire is is spreading and not contained.

It's half a mile from the Fuel Pump and coming towards the 5. I-5 is open but is buring to the east and heavy smoke is making it dangerous, police are helping people pass.

how long? < fallbrookian > 10/24 00:50:08

how long do you think until it is dangerous to be in fallbrook due to this fire?

...is it safe to sleep tonight?

GET OUT NOW < Audioverite > 10/24 00:51:59

Fallbrook you are still there? You are not suppose to be there. GET out before Camp Pendleton is to dangerous!

Do not sleep in Fallbrook its blwoing back east

get out? < fallbrookian > 10/24 00:53

how long was my question?
i've heard that exact statement 865161 times.

but do you know how long it could be?

You are Choosing < AmandaKH > 10/24 00:55:13

You are choosing to keep yourself in a very dangerous area and no matter what we say, you aren't listening, so please, don't post if it is just for attention.

well < fallbrookian > 10/24 00:59:38

obviously you arent listening.
i asked a simple question.
and you are trying to make it seem like i'm stupid. and that i am not afraid for my life; like this is some cute social event.
well you dont know anything about my situation and if you did, i'm sure you would still critisize me because you dont listen anyways.
so goodnight everyone.
i'm going to sleep in my home.
in fallbrook
peace out.
"god" bless.

1 HOUR OR LESS < guardsman > 10/24 00:56:52

DEPENDS ON WIND SPEED AND GUSTS

IF THE WINDS PICK UP IT CAN BE ANYWERE FROM 30MINS TO 1 HOUR

thank you < fallbrookian > 10/24 01:00:10

for listening.

And thank YOU for evacuating in a timely manner < DO_NOT_take_up > 10/24 01:04:50

resources of fire fighters to get you out when you have waited too long.

well said < worriedforsd > 10/24 01:07:28

as if firefighters don't have enough to worry about...

they don't have the time to go knocking on everyone's door making sure they are out even though it's been announced a MILLION times to EVACUATE!

think about others besides yourself.
this isn't a joke... & mandatory evacuations aren't suggestions...

Update?? Maybe < Radiolistener > 10/24 00:51:18

They say I5 closed both directions now at Las Pulgas due to heavy smoke... CHP is no longer running escorts

Update < Radiolistener > 10/24 00:55:29

Fire has jumped the 5. Both directions closed

Closed north of the view point just south of the reactors

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

LC du worlds wrap-up

after the race on sunday i told FMC to beat me with a shovel if i ever talked about racing long-course duathlon again. 2 days later my legs are still just as sore and that statement's still valid. somewhat. okay ask me tomorrow.

in short, it was a beautiful day, the courses were fun, the race was well-organised, and i finished 11th amateur F and 5th in my age group. could have done better, but isn't that usually the case?

my folks were an invaluable support crew: they navigated and drove the technical, convoluted bike course while i studied it from the passenger seat until i could play the entire 18K loop in my head. they filled my gas tank, found the grocery store and stocked me with bananas and gluten-free cookies, and they tracked the number of women in my age group ahead of me during the race. all i had to do was run and ride my bike some.

first run leg was 2 laps of a 7.5K course. i went out relaxed, with no intention of sticking with anyone. felt confident and strong, though i wobbled a bit when a heavy panter decided she was going to stick on my left shoulder. i couldn't hear my own breathing over her locomotion, and was i imagining that every 20sec or so she'd under her breath say "good job" to herself? to me? or was it "huzzah"? "gotcha"? whatever it was, she was negging my groove and i wished she'd give me some space. everytime i passed other runners i'd slot in front of them just to be free of her for a bit but she'd always glom back on. i finally shook her at a water stop and enjoyed the blessed silence.

the run course was fairly flat, with some cobbled and some sandy sections along the canal. it was in a sandy section that i came upon one of the physically disabled racers bogged down in his wheelchair while runners filed by. "little help here!" he called. "what do you need?" i asked, "a push?" "push, push!" he responded. so i pushed, hoping that i would not flip him over a bump and into the canal like that OJ scene in Naked Gun. i pushed and then a chick behind me pushed and later a course marshal pushed and wheelchair dude eventually finished the race in a grueling 7.5 hours.

finished the first run in 12th place and after a clean transition hit the first of 4 loops of the bike, which started with a short climb, followed by a screaming descent then a deadstop into a headwind on a bridge across the james river. very rude. very painful way to start 2.5 hours of riding, especially when the legs which performed so well running just aren't giving it up for the bike and you are passed by half a dozen women moving so fast you wonder if they've got the same headwind you do. give it a couple miles, i told myself, and the legs will come 'round. but they never did, and a course that promised to be so fun -- technical, twisty and varied -- turned out to be a sufferfest. a clanking noise down by my cranks grew louder and louder. maybe my bottom bottom bracket will fall out, i thought, and then i can stop, but no such luck. i measured time by gels consumed, and when i finally schlumped off the bike after the 4th lap i could barely run to transition.

but legs that were so unresponsive on the bike perked up for the second run. i don't know how it's possible to feel good running while sucking so badly on the bike, but i pulled it off. i passed a ton of people on that second run, downing gatorade and showering myself with water at the aid stations; the day was heating up and some people were cramping, beginning to walk. i collected a couple age group spots on that second run, but even had i run 4min miles there was still no way to make up for the 15-20min i lost on the bike. but stuff happens, you know? -and you cross the finish line at the world championships, the announcer pronounces your name CORRECTLY for once, and there are bottles of gatorade and bags of salted peanuts and your family and that is enough.

thanks to all who offered good wishes.

now, it's SofaTime.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

countdown to richmond: 4 days

the bikes have been tuned, the hammie will be tuned by rudy this aft, carbs are loading as i type (better safe than sorry!), and tomorrow morning i am off to richmond.

i am not stressed about worlds. much. okay, i did have a dream about the race last night... in fact let me tell you about my dream because i'm a woman and according to one of westolowski's witnesses that's what we do. i dreamed that i finished up the first run with the leaders (1st sign this is Not Real) and darted into transition, only to find that my water bottles were empty, my shoes were gone, and so was my bike. i ran to the water table and decanted dozens of dixie cups into my water bottles and begged a pair of cycling shoes off a spectator. i still could not find my bike though, so i appealed to an official, and he said no worries we'll hook you up and he pointed to the mount/dismount area, and there was a rocking horse. and i had to ride the rocking horse and of course i didn't get very far and i kept telling myself even MY transitions are not this bad, it must be a dream, has to be, but i must have rocked for 20min before i finally convinced myself because my adductors are still sore. see, not stressed at all.

though i travel with the Mac Trinity, i may not write while i'm down there. if you're interested you might wanna check out two of my competitors -- er, Team USA teammates. these girls are the Real Deal and i predict for them age group podium finishes, maybe even overall placings.
http://kerrirobbins.blogspot.com/
http://www.aliciaparr.com/blog/

ttyl.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

stop me if you've heard this one before

-- GOD i love my mac - i effused just now - have i mentioned that before? how much i love my mac?
-- allthefuckingtime - sighed loucypher.

oh well. i cant be expected to remember these things.

the right brain vs. left brain test

are you left brain dominant or right brain?
are you ambi-brain-sterous?
do you have a brain at all?

find out here.
and tell me in the comments.

maynard's vagina hasn't leaked yet

puscifer's first album, V is for Vagina (hellyeah), is due out oct 30th. chafing at the glacial pace of tool releases i suppose, maynard j keenan occasionally escapes his crate at danny carey's place and beagles his way into a outstanding side project like tapeworm, a perfect circle or puscifer. in addition to MJK, other contributors to the puscifer cumpot include josh eustis, lustmord, milla jovovich and ex-nin bassist danny somebody.

MJK and trent reznor seem to share the same brain sometimes: there's the censorship is a cancer / OSR twinning, the concept of nature cleaning shit up in a swath of wrath (aenima and the warning) and the outspoken dissatisfaction with the current administration.

so i guess it's no surprise that MJK this weekend came out with his own State of the Industry address which, like reznor's declaration of independence last week, acknowledges his enviable position in a market struggling to reinvent itself, and his ability to help direct.

i’m doing this pretty much on my own. no label support aside from the distributor. it’s a HUGE learning curve. but if i can navigate it, i will be able to share what i’ve learned. i can make it easier for other bands that are trying to do it on their own. make it possible for us all to survive in our little microcosms rather than fall victim to the seductive song of the sirens… the expensive and impersonal macrocosm of the major label dog and pony show.

and while he doesn't quite come out and suggest “steal it,” keenan recognises the new world order has triggered a wider exposure to and appreciation of new music. but on the flip side, while illegal downloading won't kill or maim the keenans and reznors, it could destroy isis, autolux, and the burning brides:

downloading wont effect me TOO much. but it will affect those bands right on the edge. bands who could use the hundred bucks to make it to the next town to play a show (gas and food aren’t free. go figure) . or could use some cash to record a new record.( imagine that. it actually takes money to record a record.) i can afford to pay for the recording of my record. i’m one of the lucky ones. (thanks to nirvana and the label feeding frenzy, i won the early 90’s grunge lottery.) but those days are history. in order for young bands to survive nowadays, they need to get paid for their efforts. touring costs money. recording costs money. unless you’re ok with bands recording their songs on their Palm Treo.

the puscifer appetiser EP Don't Shoot the Messenger popped up on iTunes last week; here's the track listing:
trekka (sean beaven mix)
REV 22:20
the undertaker (renholder mix)
REV 22:20 (4:20 mix)

if you think you've seen these before, you have. danny lohner used REV 20:20 in the first Underworld soundtrack and his Undertaker remix appeared on the second. so not terribly new stuff but it's the price of a fucking latte so drink a cup of free ass coffee this morning and buy some music instead.

the EP didn't leak, but V is for Vagina has. or has it? you may find that, upon dloading (and this is all theoretical of course), the tracks you have don't match the associated track listing AT ALL – that in fact, you now have a copy of living syndication's new album Aneurythm. mistake at the dload farm, you may think, but that happens rarely, and actually Aneurythm isn't half-bad. tho you've never heard of this band before, maybe you will give them a listen, maybe you will like what you hear and go to a show and buy a t-shirt. maybe you will go to their MySpace, where you find among the syndication's influences a perfect circle and tool. and you may think, could mj keenan be so clever, to "leak" a trojan horse??

today's eyecandy: APC's judith (the orig, not lohner's peerless remix). i'm as straight as the next chick but when paz lenchantin whips her hair into a knot at the top of her head without dropping the bassline i'm utterly enchanted. ply me with turkish delight and take me to your wintery kingdom, paz.

Monday, October 15, 2007

in celebration of: my mum

my mother and i ran our 10th Race for the Cure yesterday. between the 1st and 2nd mile markers was the Univ of Baltimore's marching band, overwhelmingly black and comprised largely of drummers and cheerleaders. long before we saw the band we heard the rumble of tom-toms and bass drums. no john phillips sousa here; it was pure sepultura that made you feel like shucking your shoes, loosing your hair and dancing with utter abandon.

maybe that would have broken the stoniness of P Diddy on bass, with his mirror sunglasses, stone-still torso and cocksure arms that rumbled out a tribal rhythm. we streamed by -- 32,000 runners recognising our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters and friends -- while P gazed out with the impassivity of a roman god.

It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed

And the scars are still there in the mirror

Everyday that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her

And the fear is now a docile beast

If you ask her why she is still running

She'll tell you it makes her complete


melissa etheridge - i run for life

Friday, October 12, 2007

countdown to richmond: 1+ week

in the bank is another week, such as it was. getting my ass out the door in the afternoon has become a mental battle, and many times the bike loses out to the hammock. during an ez ride, E attempted to console me.
- it's all just polishing, right? i mean, you're talking about workouts that will give you a fraction of a degree of improvement.
- i suppose.
- really, it's the hours you put in a month ago that are going to help you out in richmond.
an awkward silence ensues.
- you mean the hours i racked up in maine.
- with the gin. yeah, those.

we sensibly abandoned this subject for a discussion about the top-speed of armadillos and whether or not they're capable of "scampering." E says to scamper all you need is legs, while i argued
to afford scamperability there has to be a level of spinal flexibility, which your average armadillo don't got. clearly this calls for more research, pref performed on a beach in st. john with a mojito in one hand and iphone in t'other.

this week i eeked out only one quality workout, a greg watson special [cos i figure who better to (try to) emulate than the duathon world champ several times over]; to wit:
warm up - run 2.5 miles - ride 5 miles - run 2.5 - ride 5 - run 2.5 - cooldown.
this workout's supposed to be done at race pace. it wasn't, but it was done. period.

when i got on the bike, however, i was warmed-up from the run, so i bombed the descent on my twisty, rough road that may resemble parts of the purportedly technical, potholed richmond bike course. as i dodged potholes and shot tangents i thought if this is what richmond's like, the bike will be a blast. hills, tight turns and road challenges may give me a leg up over the Tiny People... unless upon meeting the course's bumps and grates the Tiny People fling their water bottles or Tiny Bodies in front of me, in which case we're all fucked.

so.
it is friday. Eat, drink, and be merry / For tomorrow we die.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

how to be a bad catholic

i forgot my grandmother's 87th birthday. lesson learned: iCal cannot remind you about events you do not enter in the first place. not so user-centric are ya now, apple.

but my mom remembered.
- oh finn it was so sad. i wished her happy birthday but there was no connect.
- no connect? she doesn't know when her birthday is?
- she doesn't know what *a* birthday is. i gave her a card, but a card means nothing unless you open it for her and read it out loud. i gave her a soft pink turtleneck and purposely didn't put it in a box because i knew she couldn't deal with opening a box so i put it in a gift bag with tissue paper on top and she still didn't know what to do.
- wellllll, pink was a good choice.
grandmother always liked pink, and purple. likes. she LIKES pink & purple. when she painted, she would pause and cock her head, then pronounce needs more purple and dabble in the plums and violets.

- i thought she'd connect if we sang. so i said 'let's sing the birthday song because it's your birthday.' she sang the birthday song but didn't know she should put her own name in. she doesn't know what her birthday means. she doesn't have a clue. and weird sister sent flowers, but grandmother didn't understand. it's her birthday, she gets flowers -- it's too much of a thought process.
- i'm sure you made her happy just being there, with a pink turtleneck.
- it wasn't any special day to her.
- that's okay, mom. just you being there made her happy.

i love my grandmother dearly but a part of me wishes she would go faster simply to spare my mum.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

RIAA: 1, radiohead & NIN: ??

Inscrutable Chinese Man approached me at my desk during lunch yesterday, while everyone else was out.
- you don't do any P2P at home, do you?
- P2P?
- peer-to-peer file sharing. like kazaa.
- no.
- good. because some woman was just fined 22 thousand dollars by RIAA for sharing 24 songs.
fucking RIAA. it's the bully everybody loves to hate on, but it's also deserving of derision because it's reflexively fighting medusa: every time it attacks someone small, like the single mother of 2 who shared her journey and green day songs, another 10 nodes will pop up on limewire. RIAA refuses to acknowledge it's fighting an old battle in a new space.

- well, what do you think of radiohead, and their new business model? - i asked him. radiohead recently announced that their new album will be available online for whatever you, the consumer, wish to pay. even if that's zero zilch nada.
-- i would pay the least possible amount, of course, if i paid at all. that's Inscrutable Chinese Man, paragon of rationality and spendthriftness. then he surprises me. - but music is art, and who is to determine the value of art? your concept of art may be very different from mine.
-- so, would you pay top-dollar for a video game you really enjoyed? ICM has a penchant for military combat games, like Gears and Splinter Cell, except he plays them with all the cheat codes he can find because for him the release and the glory comes from wreaking as much havoc as possible. if he were marion jones, he'd be doping on THG, human growth hormone, EPO AND peeps.
-- well, first i would ask myself, could i get these hours of enjoyment from something free? if not, then i would pay the money - well, at least i've exacted from him a small concession - but i would not pay for music. i don't even listen to music in the car. i listen to PRI, because i like its news, which is not so US-centric and gives you a world perspective that you don't see on TV.
well, people WILL surprise you. for all his railing against Apple and the rights of the individual vs the collective (two arguments emerging from the same kernel in my mind), i always thought ICM listened to chairman mao and steve balmer during his commute. turns out he might be human and open-minded after all.


will radiohead's new business model succeed? though i'm not a fan of the music i do respect the band, so i might pay a base price to see if thom yorke's gotten any less whiney and spine-tightening. OTOH, if i knew my money were going straight to the artists i really love, i would dole out at least $30 for an album; maybe even $100 if it would help set up renholder with some more preamps and twisted Pro Tools plugins.

trent reznor announced yesterday (thx paulio) that he's effectively going off the grid because 18 years have gotten him to the point where he's now free of any kind of recording contract. like radiohead, he's a free agent and, he says,

it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate. Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008.
Exciting times, indeed.
maybe this country isn't fucked.

for RIAA: the day the whole world went away, live and acoustic. if you think trent's all fistfuck and fishnet, this is for you too.

Monday, October 08, 2007

countdown to richmond: minus-2 weeks

last week was the ideal time to notch some quality du-specific workouts. one of my blogging competitors has been doing 80-mile rides and 5-hour bricks. that's great for her. last week i spent 5 hours in the hammock, mentally flagellating myself for not being on my bike but lacking the motivation to get out there.

FMC's account of her 27K run finally punted my arse back onto the trails on friday. when running is good it's very very good, and it was very good friday night.

rode and ran some long, easy miles this weekend. hammie was talkative on the hills on sunday, but i trust rudy and denise will iron me out enough to toe the line with at least 85% capacity. last week i whined to rudy about a calf muscle that'd been spasming all week: some focused deep-tissue massage & a cold whirlpool put me to rights and i haven't felt it since. he is magic.

my uniform arrived: it's made of speedo fastskin, a technological textile marvel designed to slice through water with minimal resistance. michael phelps wears fastskin. nice idea in theory, and probably great for the team USA triathletes, but giving duathletes fastskin makes as much sense as giving a skunk a metal detector. unless it rains in richmond. a whole whole lot. in the case of a massive deluge we may be unbeatable, if we can keep our bicycles upright.

Friday, October 05, 2007

marion jones is easily confused

today marion jones pled guilty to using a steroid called "the clear" while training for the 2000 sydney olympics. she said she only took the drug (THG, or tetrahydrogestrinone) because her coach told her it was flax seed oil. i give the dog flax seed oil sometimes -- it makes his coat smooth and glossy -- so i can understand why jones went along.

i was a big fan of marion jones -- she has such a great smile, and she wasn't a big egomaniac like some of the horsey women she ran against. she also didn't have those freakishly long fingernails like gail devers and flo-jo that skeeve me out and get me humming the it rubs the lotion on its skin song.

so i'm totally bummed about this and i think jones' coach is a real poopiehead for tricking her like that. since marion is obvy easily confused and led astray, i started this cheat-sheet for her so that when she gets out of jail for lying to federal agents, maybe she won't get taken advantage of again. because that is NOT a very nice feeling.





HTH.
email me with questions,
F

Thursday, October 04, 2007

complications of the flesh

The first time Eric saw the Snakeman was at the end of his evening commute, five minutes from the house. Kai Ryssdal was wrapping up Marketplace while Eric decompressed after a long day that had ended with an uncomfortable conversation with his manager. Craig cited “concerns” about recent mistakes, oversights, small things here and there that weren't Eric's style. Was there anything he wanted to share with Craig: tension between coworkers, issues with management, problems at home perhaps? Sometimes a second child brought on even more pressure than the first... but Eric insisted no, no everything was fine, just some occasional insomnia that started up after Josh was born.

Craig nodded, smiled accommodatingly and invited Eric to come to him with any problems he couldn't handle on his own.

But Eric could always handle problems on his own – as his mother was fond of saying, problems were just God's way of refining the will. So he was driving home and shedding his work skin for the domestic one when a pedestrian suddenly materialised in the narrow road in front of him.

JESUS CHRIST -- Eric yelped as he wrenched the wheel to the left. As he did so, he felt a curious sensation as though time were slowing, the air turning to viscous liquid around him while a keening in his ears built, deepened and slowed like an ambulance siren passing. The palms of his hands, his thighs and the soles of his feet prickled with adrenalin, and bile bloomed at the back of his throat.

The van struck a pothole and lurched back into the right-hand lane, passing within a foot of the pedestrian. As he swerved by, Eric noted the figure didn't flinch or give way at all. In the viscosity of time-slowed-down, Eric registered a cadaverous face and an incongruously lithe, youthful body contained by cargo shorts and a tank top. What drew Eric's attention next was the snake, a thick python or boa constrictor coiled once around the figure's neck and draping down his shoulders like a sleek stole. The Odyssey lurched forward while Eric's eyes remained glued to the apparition, which gazed back blankly. Eric tasted the sharp tang of anise in his mouth and nose and felt the pressure of a vise squeezing both temples. His head was hurting, pounding, collapsing and with the penetrating smell of anise came the sound of a woman gasping, sobbing, the feel of rain constant rain and fog, Oregon pressing its gray-blurred spring against the window, boredom desperation and a house ringing with the sound of a crying infant, a man walking lightly from the kitchen hands jammed in pockets - what you lookin at boy? - then silence. Throbbing, fraught silence for an eternity it seemed, then the tinny cassette in the second-hand tape deck and the sound of Art Garfunkel. I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever. The woman lying motionless on the sofa, breathing the music, then - hi sweetie, I didn't know you were there. The Snakeman smiled, thin lips pulling back. In the uneven spaces between gapped teeth, Eric saw the glistening, teeming movement of short fat bodies like swollen pieces of rice. The tip of a pink tongue emerged and tested the air, obscenely pulsing in and out.

Pulling away, Eric felt the pressure on his head loosen, but his guts were a tangle of fire and his mouth became oily and wet. As he urged the Odyssey forward he watched the Snakeman getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. When the figure vanished entirely, Eric pulled off onto the shoulder, pushed the door open and vomited, dry heaving until the waves of nausea passed. He wanted to put his head between his knees and gather himself, but he feared a neighbor would drive by and stop to ask unaswerable questions. What had happened back there? He couldn't seem to focus enough to come up with explanations or hypotheses; and eventually he drew himself back into the van and drove home.


When he walked through his front door his body still felt shaky and alien.

-- Well, YOU'RE home late – his wife observed - I don't know if you'll have time for dinner now. Joshua and Kaitlynn have already eaten, and so have I. We waited until 6 like I said, but we couldn't wait any longer than that. You do remember Kaitlynn's recital tonight, don't you? I know you feel like you don't have to come to these, but Donald and Marie will be there, and I told them you would finally come tonight so we're all going to Chuck E Cheese's afterward. So, if you don't have time to eat now, and you probably don't, you can get something there, though it'll be late. I couldn't wait that long I know, but you know I'm grazing now, eating smaller meals more frequently because that's really best for my metabolism... Where are you going?

-- Upstairs.

-- You're coming, though. You need to come tonight. Kaitlynn won't mind if you don't, but I told Donald and Marie that you-- Eric broke in.

-- I'm going upstairs to wash my face.

-- Well. All right. We'll be waiting for you.

Eric climbed the stairs with the impress of the vice still on his temples, his throat raked raw by stomach acid. He dropped heavily onto the bed and sat staring blindly out the window, rubbing the top of his thighs gently, back and forth, until his wife called up to him and he went back downstairs.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Miss Von Teese requests the Kitteh with Fennel & Onion

from Cute Overload, of course.

"heima" means you're at .. home

sigur rós, iceland's version of radiohead only without a screechy, moany vocalist and with gobs more talent (MHO YMMV XOXO), are previewing their first film, heima, which will go into broad release in november.

to create what seems to be a love song to a homeland, and to music, sigur rós filmed their travels during a free tour last summer. their press release does a better job explaining than i can:

while most people set up a few cameras at, say, a festival, and call it a dvd, sigur rós decided they would push the boat (bus and plane) out for their debut venture into live film, hauling 40-plus people round 15 locations to the furthest flung corners of their homeland to create something, well, inspirational.

on their way they went to ghost towns, outsider art shrines, national parks, small community halls and the absolute middle-of-nowhere-ness of the highland wilderness, as well as playing the largest gig of their career (and in icelandic history) at their triumphant homecoming reykjavik show.

'heima' (icelandic for "at home" or "homeland"), truly, shows sigur rós as never before. whereas seeing the group live is normally a large-scale and sometimes overwhelming experience, making full use of lights and mesmeric visuals, 'heima' was always intended to reveal more of what was actually going on on stage. it does this via long-held close-ups and a rare intimate proximity, without ever once breaking the spell.

loosely based on a documentary format - and including personal reflections from the band - 'heima' also serves as an alternative primer for iceland the country, which is revealed as less stag destination-du-jour and more desolate, magical place where human beings have little right to trespass.

click here or the image below for the gorgeously rich quicktime trailer. there's also a slightly different, lo-rez variation on YouTube.

if you've never heard sigur rós and/or you'd like to download some of their stuff, go to this download music page on their official website.** yeah, they're that rad. how many bands offer you detailed instructions on how to bittorrent their shit? social(ist) networks FTW.

**Finn recommends starálfur, untitled #8 (a.k.a. popplagið / the pop song) and von but what i am i saying they're all good. it's music to work by tho, not music to get you runnin up that hill.


whooza come to iceland with me?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

mark danielewski is a normal dude. sort of.

went to philly last night to see the notorious MZD, aka mark danielewski, author of House of Leaves and Only Revolutions, which just came out in paperback. dude is one of my heroes: if i were stranded on a desert isle i'd request House of Leaves and a bottle of jameson, in that order.

Z opened with a johnny truant passage from House of Leaves that he said had inspired Only Revolutions, then read sam's account of escaping the Juke Joint (S209) followed by hailey's take on leaving st. louis (H217) -- two subsequent chapters told in two voices.

now i'm going to do something appalling – he proposed – and read the end of the book. authors aren't supposed to read the endings, i know, but you may have noticed one of the peculiar things about this book is that the ending is also the middle. so he offered up sam's version of hailey's death (S353); and the difference in these 3 passages' voices – between sam's hormone-pumped description of the restaurant, to hailey's beatnik lovesong, to sam's heavy, wordsworthian sorrow as hailey goes – the shift in voices, the songs of experience vs. innocence, really comes through when read aloud.

like shakespeare, the Only Revolutions danielewski is the spoken word, whereas House of Leaves is the... well i still don't know what the fuck it is. it's like Lateralus, when OR is V is for Vagina. or something.


when asked the inevitable question about what kind of shit-fit pantheon threw when they saw what they had to publish, danielewski said definitively that HoL had made that possible. i got a decent amount for my second book - he revealed – nothing by movie or advertising standards, but in the literary world something decent – and i knew i could have just given pantheon a book over the phone, something easy that would have taken 3 months, but i had in my mind these two homeless kids, and i went with that. OR was a 6-year effort, during which danielewski was obsessed, working 10 and 12-hour days, 6 days a week, blowing up two relationships and continually wondering “what would hailey think about this” and approaching elderly gentlemen in coffee shops, asking “where were you in the 50s? were you ever in love?”

one of MZD's great loves is deconstructing the convention that language is independent of form, that it carries the same meaning regardless of appearance. he's all about leading the reader into meaning using typography and visual design -- tracking the flight of a bullet stretched in word-clusters scattered over squares of whitespace in House of Leaves, for ex.

Only Revolutions is more horsed: font face, size and color are strictly controlled, as are the number of words on a page, pages in the book; the physical orientation of the book itself; how hailey and sam's stories intertwine beginning to end, and chapter to chapter. it's a beautiful book, but i wonder if the story is compromised, constrained by its form. i imagine it's like the conundrum every translator of dante confronts: do you stay true to dante's complex rhyming verse structure? -or do you ultimately choose substance over form and resort to free verse? is it possible to have both form and substance without sacrificing either? because, to some extent, form IS the story of OR.

fuck it. i'm telling the mayor i'm taking a danielewski day. surely he'll understand.

Monday, October 01, 2007

wrapping up the regular duathlon season

this is why multisport pwns bike racing -- we get to race at venues like this while poor roadies spend their weekends hanging out in crappy industrial parks. after the race yesterday i swam in the ocean and lay insensate in the sand until my stomach began to pule.

the last duathlon of the regular season started inauspiciously. i miscalculated the race start time and barely got my bike racked before the transition zone closed: i showed up just as the national anthem was being sung and got busted by a volunteer who told me to PLEASE stand still for the national anthem, so i did, only i was so discomfited that i dropped my bike, and in trying to catch it, i dropped my helmet, which rolled and came to rest at the feet of a woman who just glared at me for putting her in the awkward position of either standing still for our national ditty or politely returning my helmet. she returned my helmet, and i curtsied, because i don't know if you know this but it is okay to move during our national anthem if you are curtsying.

it would have behooved me to warm up for the first run because 1.5miles isn't far at all and should be run quickly, not at the 7min/mile effort i put forth, but instead of doing striders minutes before the start-gun sounded, i was on my hands & knees, following a deer trail through thick multiflora rose, in search of a bathroom spot because whatever stomach virus i had last week came back full force. sorry if i pooed in anybody's bed.

so the first run was slow, but no other women challenged me. out on the 14mile bike course i overtook a rolling block of half-a-dozen guys, who responded by repeatedly passing and then pulling right in front of me, which is really motherfuckin RUDE because then I have to jam on the brakes and drop 5meters back to get out of the drafting zone, and then ramp up and pass your ass aGAIN. at mile 10 i thought i'd broken my boyz until we made a hard right over the drawbridge and there they were, buzzing at my heels like that cluster of deerflies that assailed me in maine.

though it was annoying at the time, they motivated me to ride faster than i would have alone -- i was still feeling thursday's hill intervals in my quads and would have been content to putz along with grandpa and his cruiser bike on the way to the Silver Spoon Diner.

commenced the 5K run alongside one of the pack boyz. our strides matched exactly, tamping out the beat to BRMC's American X in my head.
- oh dear - i commented to him - we run the same too.
- naw, you were faster than me by the end of the first run. i was really working to keep up with you on the bike.
- you guys were good incentive out there.
- yeah, you were definitely the leader of our pack.
i left him behind as i tripped merrily on my way. there were no women in striking distance -- the 2nd place woman finished 3min back -- so i ran relaxed, but vigilant. i ended up 8th overall out of 100, and demonstrated my cycling prowess by riding my bike into a culvert and doing an endo before the crowd gathered for the awards ceremony. yup, that's yer first-place woman lying in the ditch there. bring her a sammich won't you?