Wednesday, December 31, 2008

House of Toddler Horrors: 1 --- Finn: 0

happy new year and all that jazz. i hope 2009 brings peace & prosperity to you & yours blabbity blah blah enough about you, let's talk about ME.

let's talk about how for the past 5 days i've lived on jello and chicken broth (note no mention of WHISKEY) and you can still see the seams of my mum's sofa on my ass. this was the fallout from an unfortunate xmas eve gathering at the HoTH. here's a thought: if you have a virulently contagious upper GI infection (and you might know this since you and your wife are DOCTORS), maybe you shouldn't have 14 people over for dinner.


i did a lot of thinking during the hours i spent shitting gruel. i thought, how cool that even when it's holding back the yangtze river, your bunghole still works. (mostly) i considered how chicken broth exits in pretty much the same state it enters. and that begged the question, why can't you eat your own poo? poo comes from food, and there's nothing nasty introduced from the outside (like maggots, for instance, or nora roberts), so i am curious why a self-contained process that starts with something edible produces something that's not. and if you could, would it be safe to lick your own liver.


speaking of which, have a happy & safe new year's eve. see you in 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

wishing you Jo-Joy Booties & jameson

yesterday Man-Who-Wears-Socks-On-Head and i shared a ride to a client meeting.
- ready for christmas? - i asked, in the way you'd make smalltalk with co-workers you don't know.
- oh, we don't celebrate christmas.
don't smirk. MWWSOH is white and doesn't wear a yarmulke. you'd have made the same mistake.
- whyyyyy not?
- i'm a jehovah's witness.
- oh my.
did you know that JW's believe in christ, but not that he died on a cross or was born on dec 24th? in fact, they don't believe in birthdays at all, which explains why they have to recruit grownups cos no kid would go for that shit.

anyway, merry christmas to you all. i hope this holiday brings you Jo-Joy Booties, christmas number twos, or your personal equivalent.


[from If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,
There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats, one of my new fave blogs cos it's all pitchurs and you don't have to do anything hard like read.]

Monday, December 22, 2008

eat enough rumballs and you won't feel it anyway

i'm sitting at the kitchen table rolling rumballs in granulated sugar when D shuffles in.
- my toe hurts - he announces.
- what did you do to it? and can you bring me the rum please? it's right there.
- i didn't do anything.
the bottle of cruzan black strap materializes.
- and a glass?
he sighs and dodders to the cabinet and back.
- i have an ingrown toenail, i think.
- and pour? - i say, indicating the bottle with an elbow. he does, and waits.
- well what about my TOENAIL - he finally erupts. i look up.
- is it black?
he stares hard at me, then turns away disgusted.
- i don't know why i'm asking a runner - he upbraids himself, or me, or the dog, and sulks into another part of the house.

the second toenail on my left foot is blueing but that means i'm running trail again and that means life is pretty fuckin good.

Friday, December 19, 2008

reason #1,000,000 why i love mac

an auspicious start to a 60hr workweek when my e-machine had a complete system-meltdown. but Parallels on the Lapple purred right along and after tossing my PC off the balcony i worked off the laptop. all this is to say i may not be the most objective person in the room, but i know somebody else.

here's trent razor* on Apple's MainStage, the software used to mix and meddle with the Lights in the Sky audio:

it's been a nice stable platform that gives me the options that i need, the ability to modify it however i want, and i haven't found the thing it can't do yet. i would never go back to something else at this point.

contrast this with rob sheridan's fulminations on the "the SHITTY video software" they were stuck with at the start of the tour:

In This Twilight, Head Down, and the live cameras in Survivalism are currently running through a terrible machine called the Hypotizer, which is basically just primitive, unintuitive video software on three separate Windows machines (one for each screen). We were talked into using it by the company that provides the video hardware for the show, and it's been nothing but a nightmare to work with. It's slowed down our ability to enhance the show during the tour, and it always seems to be fucking up, but we've been stuck with it because it's the only playback device that can access all three screens right now...You'll probably hear about (or see video of) Survivalism looking like a fucking mess in Oakland tonight, and that was because (surprise) the hypotizer crashed. We're really looking forward to getting rid of that thing and revamping some video elements for the second leg of the tour.
(via)

friday, 7 morning miles with all pipes running, one albatross cut away.
that'll do melvin that'll do.


*imissue

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

three letters

Dear World,
Sorry for all the shit we put you through for the last 8 years. We'll put some of that to rights soon. Thanks for your patience.


Dear Dubya,
It’s not you, it’s always someone else who needs to change
What about you, this narrow view has left you so estranged
Do you see, a real man rights his wrongs, then walks away
Not you – you’re not wrong – no way.**
Jackass.


Dear Obama,
Get busy child.












**Portal, "Your Kettle"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

the curse is lifted

stopped by dunkin donuts this morning for a cuppajoe and to stare longingly at the maple-frosted donuts topped with candycorn. you think in china they put candy on top of donuts? in europe? fuck no. that's why america is awesome. plus we're the WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS, or so trumpeteth the early edition papers stacked by the counter.

- good morning! - says the one other customer, a slight elderly man wearing carhartts and construction boots. i am sure he belongs to the ford f150 outside. -How are YOU?
- fine - and then reluctantly - how are you.
- specTACular.

he grins at me and god help me his smile's almost contagious. i play along
begrudgingly .
- why, are you a phils fan?
he throws his head back and laaaaaafs. the woman behind the counter looks at me pityingly as she hands me my coffee. apparently you don't get this dude wound up.
- oh NO. i don't have nothing to do with those pro athletes. turn the game into something it was never meant to be. all this media and advertisin' and payin' a man eight million dollars cos seven ain't enough. it's a travesty, young lady, a travesty.
i nod and smile and walk toward the door; he follows.
- world series – i hear the sarcasm drip as he rolls the phrase ove
r his tongue – that don't make no sense. you know what a REAL world series is?

i do. and what i would give to have CarharttMan with the "support our troops" ribbon and W sticker on his truck to tell me about the World Cup, but life isn't that neat is it.
- you go up to williamsport and you watch the Little Leaguers play. now THAT is a world series. you watch those little tykes from all over the world and you see how a game SHOULD be played. before it gets all complicated with ads and money and egos.

the ford chirps; he opens the door and nods at me.
- you have yourself a good day now.

CarharttMan may have a point, but if you saw the faces of each individual phils player as he ran to pile atop brad lidge after the final strikeout you saw the little leaguers ruiz, howard and utley. boil it down, and it's still The Game.


[if you want to see an amazing play from last night, check out this clutch move where second-baseman utley in a split-second sees there's no play on first and -- off balance -- throws a perfect ball to ruiz, who tags out what would have been the rays' go-ahead run . even the camera guy is fooled.]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

i keep the bible in a pool of blood

lately i've been haunting the local football messageboard, don'taskwhy, and it is harder than you might think. first of all, i cannot keep my big piehole shut even if i know SFA about highschool football; and second, because students frequent the board and you get booted if you talk about drugs or use bad language, i have to use the TourettesCheck to make sure no shitfucksuckcunts slip out and get me banned. it is a different world out there, people. take this recent exchange:
[CYO = Catholic Youth Something]


sportwatcherhof

Re: CYO Football
Does anyone else find it a little strange how most of the kids on the CYO teams are not even catholic?
finleynine
Re: CYO Football
i find it a little strange that you know this, sportwatcher. do you have some kind of catholic divining rod?
sportwatcherhof
Re: CYO Football
finleynine.. No divining rod needed. I just know the kids and families that play with my son, and know who I see and don't see at church. It is a common fact that most teams have more non catholics than catholics. I am sure you know the people in your church.

what the fuck is "church." no i am sure i don't know the people there.

i do, however, know that according to this meme i'll subject you to, my body gets 43 miles per gallon. i don't know whether my not having thrown up or fainted from exertion upped or damped this #.

43 miles per gallon

Monday, October 27, 2008

what is it you say you do around here

To: all@MyCo.com
From: HeapusBigusBossus
Subject: More Actions

We ended Isabella’s contract today. Isabella helped us for approximately 5 months. She had some success, liked MyCo, and we liked her. Unfortunately, she did not help us enough to keep at this time.



To: loucypher
From: finn
Subject: Re: More Actions

who's -- oh nm.

-------------------------------
congrats go out to fastmammycat for running the dublin marathon today and taking 18min off her time last year. smashing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

my dog is hot

- have a good walk? - D asked last night when the dog and i got in just before dark.
- yes. a couple people stopped and said what a good-looking dog.
- were they guys?
- erm... yeah.
he snorted.
- what?
- total pickup line.
- i don't think so. he IS a good-looking dog.

that, and clad in an XXL Hate '90 shirt and court shorts down to my knees, cradling my sore swollen belly, bruises pooling from wrist to elbow and greyly po-faced i'm hardly pickup line material. but men are from mars and finns are from Blue.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

oh for fucks sake

i found this evidence in the sink last night:


if we're feeding the cats Fancy Feast in fairness the dog should get kobe tenderloin prepared nightly by wolfgang puck.

about the VP debate i have nothing to say except i can't believe 2004 might happen all over again. my only solace is that this time 'round i have the perfect jameson glass.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

get a basset. or a b.collie

the cats needed food so yesternoon found me in the catfood aisle, which always makes me grumpy. why should i spend MY money on animals that, when they're not sleeping, are puking up half-digested small mammals, fighting in the middle of the night or shitting in the flowerbeds? where is the return on investment here?

standing in the catfood section inevitably brings up these sorts of existential questions and i was cranky as jean paul when a couple rolled up, she in Chanel sunglasses, he in a McNabb jersey. they were talking about how to stock up for her parents who'd be house-sitting this weekend.

- and we need catfood - she said as she breezed by fragrantly and stopped in front of the Fancy Feast. ha-fucking-ha. as if.
- i got catfood last week. it's in the basement. remember?
- oh no. that's not good enough for my mother.
my man grabs that pass...
- well, she ain't gotta eat it. does she.
...and runs it into the endzone.

i give him the victory-sign; he grins over her shoulder and she turns around, curious, but i'm already sliding away with my $3.99 bag of NutraCat. ON SALE bitches.

- why do you buy this shit? - D asks later - the cats won't eat it.
i'm unrepentant.
- good. they're too fat anyway.
- seriously. why can't you just buy the stuff they like?
- they'll eat it eventually. quit worrying.
and the evening went downhill from there.

cats. so not worth it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

'remember when there were just 6 of us?'

To: all@MyCo.com
From: HeapusBigusBossus
Subject: New Hire

Sundesh Palekar starts Wednesday as another developer. Sundesh comes with good experience in [gak spithle gork]. She seems to be flexible and smart, and really liked our environment (“perfect”) as she put it. Let’s see if it ends up that way for both her and us – please help her as appropriate.

Please welcome Sundesh tomorrow. She will sit next to Chris Sampson to start this week.



To: loucypher
From: finn
Subject: Re: New Hire

who the fuck is Chris Sampson?
 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2 years on

back from a week away; message on the answering machine. caller doesn't identify himself but doesn't need to. it's the voice i heard over my shoulder in mrs. mitchell's pastels class, so young he was back then, we all were but him even more, before his time with the dog and ours with him. gabe in fucking south dakota, WTF.

hey um sorry to be calling in the middle of the night, but i saw her, finn. she was running on the cart path by the creek. it might have been a sunday morning but she was alone. man was she flying, that long wheeling stride where her feet are just a blur and her hair flags out behind her. god, that blonde flag of hair... it was so good to see her again, you know? i couldn't tear my eyes away. but then she turned to go over the bridge and i saw she was crying, and she probably had been for a while because her eyes were all red and her cheeks were all wet, and then i woke up. i tried to call but it says the number's been disconnected. so please check on her finn. remember we talked about our saving grace? i don't know what i'd do. please just check on her.

someone's moved a bit beyond the perimeter. i thought about *69g and calling him back -- she's gone G -- but then laf pulled up and the dog started barking and time commenced to move regular again.

Friday, September 12, 2008

microsoft is rebranding

just saw the first sally in microsoft's much ballyhooed new ad campaign. MS dashed many account managers' wet dreams when it passed over the major players to hand its $300 million consumer branding budget to Crispin Porter + Bogusky, an agency that primarily uses... macs. bogusky then enjoined jerry seinfeld (another mac advocate) to front the campaign.

if you haven't seen the first ad -- maybe you've been painting buffalo and horses on the walls of your cave -- it's on something called YouTube. this week i caught it during The Daily Show.

- ooh, you gotta see this - D told me - it's great.
aside from a couple stifled snickers & snorts he remained respectfully quiet while i absorbed. digested. furrowed. finally i spoke.


- i don't get it.
- you don't GET it? you didn't think that was funny? the shoes, clothes in the shower? "adjust your shorts"... ha ha!
- no, i DON'T get it. what's the point? what's it trying to say?

he looked at me with great pity, as though i'd confessed i'd forgotten how to multiply.

- it's saying - he pronounced slowly, with grrrrrrrrreat emphasis - that microsoft's new computers will be made from cake.

as someone who requires hand-holding to use iTunes, he might actually believe that. but he certainly GETs more than i do.

UPDATE:
and here's the 2nd installment. the humor's more accessible than the 1st, but funny personable ads boost a brand only if there's a seed of truth there to start with.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

dumbing down the message

palin:

"Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and [obama]'s worried that someone won't read them their rights."
obama's response:
"My position has always been clear: If you've got a terrorist, take him out. Anybody who was involved in 9/11, take 'em out."
[via]

next: revamping a thoughtful definition of Evil to appease the dumbfuck masses who want it chased to the gates of hell and Defeated.
what's behind this dumbing down of america? is it religion? short attention spans & information overload? poisoned contrails (was that chick right)? this election is a heavy chest weight.

here, disperse your sorrows with 80's hair and the dude @0:55. i'll be round shortly with the hooch.

Monday, September 08, 2008

hertford college, 1990

you got a postcard – D said – from england?? -but it doesn't say from who.

wordlessly i take it from him: oxford's Bridge of Sighs at night under the soft glow of gas lamps. of course. this weekend is tad's birthday, when the bottom would drop out of kim for a bit and gabe would shore her back up.

i turn the card over in my hands, noting the softened edges and striated ring marks from the bottoms of tumblers. mine's in a picture frame; he's less precious. i guess he's also in south dakota now.

“i miss her” was all he'd written.

i do too.



Friday, September 05, 2008

Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in......

just added:11.06.08Atlantic City, NJHouse of Blues (map)on sale: TBA




presale: TBA

[j/k. i was neverout.]

had a CAT scan this morning. taking a look at the old pipes, so i got a bag of contrast dye shot through. techs warned i might feel some warmth, and i did, my goodness did i, a burning hole in my arm where the IV connected and then a tunnel of warmth gulfing down my body, pooling in the "downstairs" as PK would say.

- was it too warm for you? - debbie the tech asked as she slid the needle out.
- warm, but not unpleasant. does anyone ever ask for a second shot?
debbie laughed.
- some women cry out a little, and then afterward they say, 'honey i haven't felt that in YEARS.'

this is a tragedy, especially since it's so easily fixed. jackshepherd -- for the sake of women everywhere, and meb some dudes, come back to the Y.

'a night, a death, the end of a run'

running single-track last night, losing light and the outlines of trees and shapes of reaching undergrowth moving faster on either side, pushing to the event horizon where everything shuts down, ducking through a corner blindly and. suddenly on the ground. stunned. a hand skinned, an elbow grazed, hip thudding. looked up; a huge shape between me and the sky, curving horns black against blue. the escaped brahman bull. smell of anise, a stick a stone, it's the end of the road.

what are you running from child?
shake my head. nothing. sticky warmth on my knee, a scratch a lump, it is nothing at all. it is the tall wooly-headed orderly, five years of handling little babies at AI, slides the point; i feel nothing. is that what makes you so gentle?
head cocks.
gentle?
clear turgid bag sways dripping into marrow, and the riverbank talks of the waters of march, blades burr against skin like the backs of warm bees
there is nothing behind you
there is no reason for fear.
one wheel creaks, panicked shriek of captain kirk. you said he ran away. i lied. lies.
lies?
mother's hand on brow, see you later alligator, now count back from 100, 99, 98 it's the end of all strain, will i will i will i
feel this again? the foot, the ground, the flesh and the bone
yes.
'this' is your creation.
crescent moons dip and fade into black. outlines and shapes reconstitute, ebb then fall of cicadas, after a while, 3 2 1

Thursday, September 04, 2008

the real story behind The Photo

i have to ask - PK wrote - is that pic of palin on your blog real?
no it's not, it's just a good 'shop job and if i were a nicer person -- if i were ethically nuanced, for example -- i would take it down to avoid any misconceptions but i'm not so it stays.

what i will do is point you to the original photo on Flickr, where you can also follow the unfolding story as the manipulated version hits meme levels. beginning 3mos ago with a respectful (denied) request for usage rights, the conversation snowballs into an exchange between photographer, journalist, troll and bystander and along the way addresses seasonable issues like creative license, political propagandising and "star-spangled porn."

doctor casino, the photographer of the orig "elizabeth" photo, shows admirable restraint & composure, even a sense of humor:

My new favorite theme in the comments against this image is that it somehow proves that conservative women have better bodies than liberals; ie "Who wants to see a feminist in a swimsuit?" Elizabeth, of course, has never voted Republican in her life, and we first became friends after I noticed her in a performance as "The Angry Vagina" in The Vagina Monologues. So, who wants to see a feminist in a swimsuit? 20,000+ internet surfers, apparently!

apparently. later skaterz i'm busy -- tryin to stick this:


on this:


and it's not going well.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

of VPs and pit bulls

sarah palin continues to bubble to the surface of conversations around here.
- Macain picked a Hottie for Vp! - laf texted me soon after the official announcement and the buzz hasn't evolved much since.

- oh, she's a total hottie – D agreed - compared to laura bush?? she'd be the hottest first lady maybe EVER.
a long jon stewart pause.

- you mean, VP.

- yeah. what did I say.

- you said first lady.

- yeah well she'd make a hot VP too. much better than that geraldine ferraro.


presents quite a moral conundrum doesn't it.
have you heard the leaked mccain/palin voicemail? [no liquids in the mouths upon the listenings, unless your monitors need cleaning.]

yesterday we got into a heated MyCo debate about whether palin's family and parenting... skills? challenges? dinnerplates? -should be factored into a debate about her political qualifications. when arguing with parents single libertarians, i've found, rarely win. i think that's because our concept of the world derives from Atlas Shrugged, whereas loucypher's struggles with braces, catholic school and cheerleading give him a more pragmatic yet ethically-nuanced perspective.

i have a pragmatic, nuanced perspective for you. it came yesterday when i was running trail and passed a guy walking his dog. in the short seconds it took to register him while phil anselmo roared in my ear about feeling fucking hostile, i noted a goatee, floppy bangs and a pitbull; and i realised that the one thing missing from NIN shows now is hawtness. let's get to the real issues people. how do we coax this guy back outside. where's that platform.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

NIN in philly, PA

Lights in the Sky tour
29 august 2008

subhangi described NIN shows as a pilgrimage. if you've not experienced one, go. the band's toight, the lightshow's ridiculous and the music pummels you but rests sometimes too. if you're in the seats you won't get bruised, squashed or groped by strangers during Closer. but where's the fun in that?? floor's where it's at.

parked next to a car with license plate “haloeight.” mah peeps. dudes i hung with in line were pretty normal by NIN standards, whereas the chick i chatted with in jersey tried to convince me that the government's killing us off with poisoned contrails. i just put a video up on youTube as evidence – she told me – even though i know they'll come after me now. i guess right then the voices told her to do a snake-charmer dance because she did a rather nice one, and a couple people applauded. if that's what contrails do, i'll take some now kthxbye.

NIN.com presales go in first, so got front & nearlycenter squeezed beside a short guy on the rail, close enough to spit – as PK noted, and remained relatively anchored while the sea of bodies behind pitched & tossed.

Does It Offend You, Yeah was even better this time 'round – soundguy finally woke up and mixed the vocals higher. band still looked like kids in a playground onstage, hopping & cavorting, good-humored. DIOYY's one of NIN's better opening bands IMO – would put 'em just behind APC and saul williams. set could have been longer, which is high praise for an opening act.

[reason #811 why i love mac: despite crowd noise Shazam still tagged filler music between DIOYY and NIN.]

trent reznor said he spent 4mos in a dark room piecing together the Lights in the Sky stage show, and that effort shows. drums, mult. keyboards, a fucking vibraphone – all these sit on wheeled platforms so they can be pushed like satellites around a stage that changes 5 times in the course of the show. 3 sets of stage-wide hi-tech LED screens alternately hide & reveal the band, and PK says it's proximity sensors that allow reznor to wipe away the tapestry of white light as he moves behind the screen during Only, that choreographing such complex movement between performer and lighting beforehand would be impossible. if you're nikki sixx, you might fulminate against overproduced & ponderous visuals, but when you overlay that production with the raw energy that is nine inch nails, the reason you leave the floor exhausted and at peace, jeans drenched and leather belt soaked through, you get the pilgrimage thing.

after the 1st driving set of Slip tracks and The Frail/The Wretched, the band sans the drummer freese gathered at the veryfront of the stage before an LED screen as roadies hoisted up 3 sequencer & keyboard satellites. by the light of a glowing console on a dark stage we got to see reznor at work, setting up his shit to cue Me I'm Not. EVERYone was on a keyboard, not a guitar in sight, yet there's body-moving *music.* it's then that you derive the full appreciation of how much this man changed music since Pretty Hate Machine. yeah, reznor's great on piano and can find his way around a guitar, but where he really shines is in the piecing & mixing, and during Me I'm Not or Vessel YOU get to watch it. it's like being in the studio except instead of atticus ross & alan moulder you've got klorgon the tattoed wonder on one side of you and queen vampyra on the other.




NIN shows still draw a sizable goth contingent. they creep out of their hideyholes in whiteface with scars, tats and piercings; with buckles, corsets and 8” boots; with the vain hope that maybe this once they'll get The Perfect Drug live. they obvy didn't get the memo about HappySoberTrent.

HST's given to speeches on this tour, short 2min jobs where he sounds genuinely thankful, even smiles, and the philly speech after Echoplex addressed the change of his fan base:

Trent's speech 8/29/08


highlights if the vid upstairs doesn't load:

i'd like to thank our opening band Does It Offend You, Yeah. please, if you like them, go out and buy their record. you can steal everything i put out, i don't care anymore. take it.

someone asked me, y'know we've been doing this for awhile, and someone asked me, when you look out into the audience does it look the same as it did years ago? and there's one difference that i've noticed, and that is... like i went and saw Rage Against the Machine the other day at, uh...

[at this point klorgon loosed a primal howl that deafened me.]


where was it? - at Lollapalooza, and it was... we were on the stage watching out, and a million people, and it looked great and they kicked ass.

but i noticed, it was all dudes. all dudes, as far as you could see, just shirtless sweaty guys. and when we started out it was all dudes, you know like vampire dudes, and it was all guys...

and now a lot of... a lot of hot chicks in the front.

[a giant purple bra sailed onstage and dropped in front of finck, who picked it up and modeled it thoughtfully. klorgon bellowed again.]

i dunno whether that's a good or bad but... i've blown the mystique. let's get all dark in here, shall we.

let's kill the lights.


and then came Reptile.

set list, with differences from the East Rutherford show in strikes and green:
999,999 

1,000,000 

Letting You 

Discipline 

March of the Pigs 

Head Down 

The Frail 

Reptile
The Wretched


Closer 
(w/The Only Time breakdown)
Gave Up 

The Warning
Vessel
Me I'm Not

The Great Destroyer
5 Ghosts I 

17 Ghosts II 

19 Ghosts III 

Ghosts Piggy 

The Greater Good
Wish (w/ Pinion intro) 

Terrible Lie 

Survivalism 

The Big Come Down 

31 Ghosts IV
8 Ghosts I
Only
Down in It 

The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole 

(ENCORE) 

Echoplex 

Reptile
God Given 

The Good Soldier
Hurt 

In This Twilight > Zero Sum

Down In It was introduced with “here's some really REALLY old shit” and it was balls.to.the.wall blinding force – one of this show's highlights IMO. an intrepid soul scrambled onstage in front of JMJ, ran over to reznor and bowed (one song early, bro), then made his way to finck before being tackled by security. took 5 guys to get him offstage. you gotta give the guy props for having balls but like the battered housewife, NIN fans fear anything that might set reznor off, like the lighter toss that prompted him to end an aWitha Teetha show in the middle of Hurt. HST was unfazed, however, and didn't miss a word.

another nifty use of those LED screens is the encore segue from dark stage into Echoplex. if you've seen the rehearsal vid you're familiar with how freese uses a Lemur to build the background drums; in the live show, the rear screen becomes a 16-step sequencer on a digital grid from which freesinator builds the drumtrack by touching a series of blocks... slowly too, so people like me who don't know a C-note from a centavo get the gist. the song ends with freese pulling beats away.


pix don't do it justice: check out this vid from the Toledo show.

in philly, as the 3 guitars wound down into silence, an errant, off-drumbeat rang. reznor glanced offstage, motioned “enough” and looked a little grumpy. the occasional fuckup isn't a bad thing, however; you derive more of an appreciation for what makes up a show.


missed Burn, Dead Souls and Suck in the set list, but In This Twilight // Zero Sum // exeunt still prickled the skin. and of course the savage beastie's been soothed and i won't need to kill anybody for at least a couple weeks.




Friday, August 29, 2008

used to stand for something

fast & furious reactions to mccain's selecting 44yo alaskan gov Sarah Palin as his running mate. i got as far as this one before i gave up:

This woman should be at home taking care of her kids, not running for Vice President. I mean, she has a four month old Down Syndrome child. He requires constant care. Why why why would she be neglecting her family to run for VP?

I was planning to vote for McCain, but he just lost my vote. That vote won't be going to Obama, it will be going to a third party candidate. I just can't, in good conscience, vote for a woman for VP, especially a woman with a young family and virtually no experience. And yes, I'm a woman too, but I'm also a Christian who believes in traditional family values and roles.

call me a naif but it's really fucking dismaying to realise we're still in a place where people won't vote for someone because he's black or she's a woman.

small solace is the possibility that based on history, mccain & palin will run away together.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

NIN in east rutherford, NJ

Lights in the Sky tour
27 aug 2008


much WorkToDo so this will be a quickie micky. setting it down in verse to remember. no proselytising.

opening act Does It Offend You, Yeah looked like they were having fun, even when some asshole lobbed a cup of beer onstage. if you don't like the opening act just sit tight, it's a short set. don't scream YOU SUCK and don't throw shit. have a modicum of fucking respect. when DIOYY jams it's a bit like the Beastie Boys' The Mix-up. funk groove. not bad.

then 2hrs and 15min of NIN. oh.my.god, can it go any faster??


we got kinder & gentler trent, who thanked his fans, introduced each band member (1st time i've seen that in 13 tours of duty), thanked us again, thanked his road crew and DIOYY, and thanked us once more.


we got the thrash -- oh fuck said the guy alongside who was trying to protect his girlfriend when freese tore into Gave Up -- and we got Ghosts interludes. The Frail -- which featured reznor @ keyboard at the back of the stage, where a bright LED screen set in bold relief the drip drip drip of sweat off his shirt and forehead from Discipline/MOTP/Head Down -- bled into Reptile for a change of pace.


band took a break, LED screen dropped for The Greater Good but you gradually heard reznor's live voice take on "breath.us-in.slowly.slowly" and he curled around the screen onto far stage right whispering to a not-rob cameraman just inches away from his face then slipped back as oozily as he arrived, left hand trailing across the screen, consummate showman.

toys: first time we've seen TR w/a vocoder -- wanna say it was Head Down? -- inspired by MJK perhaps, and Vessel featured a crazy flat-screen sequencer from which reznor summoned all the shit that comes down at the end of the track, plus some. what you think is a static-y percussion loop isn't a loop at all, it's TR stabbing at that screen with one hand while smearing a finger around like an old-skool dj with the other. sick. want to see that again.

nice to have robin finck back -- prefer his loose-limbed grace to his predecessor's monkey acrobatics (sorry travis) -- and tho he is no lohner did warm to the new bassist justin meldal-johnsen when he took up a cello for Ghosts (idea for which inspired by Bridge Concert success?). freese abs killed it on Piggy, dude has 9 arms, and during In This Twilight didn't look at the drumset once, just worked by feel. In This Twilight -- and the show -- ended w/the band members exiting one-by-one, leaving reznor noodling a bit on the keyboard to flirt with and finish with an approximation of Zero Sum. just purrfect.


NIN is loud, brutish and bruising but he's also subtle and artful. while there's trent there's hope. (okay a little proselytising)

setlist, AFAIK:
999,999
1,000,000
Letting You
Discipline
March of the Pigs
Head Down
The Frail
Reptile
Closer
Gave Up
The Warning
Vessel
5 Ghosts I
17 Ghosts II
19 Ghosts III
Ghosts Piggy
The Greater Good
Wish (w/ Pinion intro)
Terrible Lie
Survivalism
The Big Come Down
31 Ghosts IV
Only
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole
(ENCORE)
Echoplex
God Given
The Good Soldier
Hurt
In This Twilight

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

3rd & 10

a beautiful day yesterday. slept in instead of swimming and in the afternoon blew off a RBRBRBR BTW workout to watch delcastle scrimmage against howard & st george's. i'd sidled in on utter whim but immediately became part of the scene, folded into a mix of siblings, parents and teachers who'd collected in the stands on a perfect day in august to watch a bunch of high school kids score a touchdown every 45min. a girl who melted me with her marion jones smile rubbed her little brother's shoulders while he squirmed with pleasure. the fathers of squashed and spindled players tromped heavily down the risers to confab with the physical therapist – we wrapped the ankle, just ice it tonight and we won't run him tomorrow/it's just a jammed finger, nothing to worry about/he's a tough kid, he'll be fine tomorrow – and smiled at me on the way back up, relief smoothing the corners of their eyes. a big, big man who to this day holds penns grove school records in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4x100 relay railed against clewless assistant coaches and the questionable wisdom of spending money on computers instead of hiring quality coaches who would “get those skinny fuckers in the gym and put some meat on their bones.” we held our collective breath when another boy crumpled on the field and the players went down on bended knee, and we clapped when the trainer resurrected him.

i didn't intend to sit there for 2 hours, didn't intend to be there in the first place, but it was an unexpected pleasure and i left reconstituted.

it is good to be free.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the crüe is good clean fun

crue-fest @ holmdel, NJ
23 aug 2008

when nikki sixx and mick mars got together to write tracks for the new motley crüe album, saints of los angeles, both agreed to abide by certain exacting standards. don't be trent, for instance.

"Mick just said, 'I want to hear a lot of guitars, and I want to hear snotty lyrics,'" Sixx says. "And I was like, 'Exactly where I'm coming from, dude.' I don't want loops and samples and beats. I don't want to be Nine Inch Nails. I don't want to be Jay-Z or Rage Against the Machine. I don't want to be Gwen Stefani. I don't want to be over-thought and over-processed."


HEY.

i forgive the dissage of my man because the crüe is fun. the shows are great people-watching, for one: there were the requisite dudes inked within an inch of their lives; clusters of lisping men (?) in cut-off tanks, tights and headbands who i think got lost on the way to a conor oberst show; and total babes wearing not much more than mesh and electrical-tape. AJ's assertion that he had the hottest chick in holmdel lost all credibility as soon as we climbed out of the car.

we missed the first 3 acts – trapt, sixx AM and papa roach -- because we were dicking around, but arrived in time to see buckcherry's “crazy bitch” set the mood for the headliner (you're crazy but i like the way you fuck me).


so mars had hip replacement surgery, sixx is sober now, tommy lee's starring in an environmental reality show, and vince neil.... well neil doesn't look so much like a lady anymore. whatever. they still rockout, know why? -because motley crüe hails from the days when bands actually had to sound
good in the studio, before technology became a crutch -- and maybe this was what sixx was getting at -- before you could feed a bunch of crap into ProTools and emerge with Antichrist Superstar.

there were slight touches of the silliness of the Carnival of Sins tour in holmdel on saturday, but mostly it was straight up rock n'roll, a MC greatest hits collection plus the shamelessly-hooky title track off SOLA and "mutherfucker of the year," which is a great soundtrack for BTW efforts if you can keep the irish jigs at bay. "live wire" live is waaaay better than the studio version, and the "home sweet home" encore featured lee on piano and everyone else acoustic while footage from the old days -- the big hair, the eyeliner, the ridiculous leather pants-oh -- played on the side vid screens. 'twas a quality, if short, set.

setlist:

Kickstart My Heart

Wild Side

Shout at the Devil
Saints of Los Angeles
(dl; studio version)
Live Wire
(dl; live 2005)
Mutherfucker of the Year (dl; studio version)

Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol' Situation

Primal Scream
Looks that Kill

Girls, Girls, Girls

Dr. Feelgood
Home Sweet Home
(dl; live 1999)

next up:

Friday, August 22, 2008

bring us your tired, your huddled masses, your entire TB ward....

while i was in belgium MyCo hired 3 people: Mr. Crutches, Madame Screechyvoice and my current favorite -- Señor Tuberculosis. the first time I heard his wet, hacky cough i stared at loucypher in disbelief.
- i told you it was bad - he whispered.
- is he dying? more importantly, is that contagious??
he shrugged. i popped the rest of a plum in my mouth and sucked the pit, resuming my work.

approx 10 seconds later Señor TB commenced a hawky skirmish with another lunger wedged somewhere around his scrotum judging by his bassy, bubbly efforts. an exhausting coughing fit culminated in a prolonged haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwkkkkkttttttt followed by a beat of silence... and then a burp. loucypher's shoulders shook; my eyes watered as i fought to swallow my laughter. we are so going to hell.

coff coff coff - me this time - ack ack, hurkkk.
- STOP IT - loucypher hissed - he'll hear you.
- can't.help.it. swallowed my. plum.pit.
- oh THAT's gonna feel good coming out.

going to hell with a ripped-up ringhole. well at least i'm not britney spears.

taking a trainwreck ride back to the 80s this weekend and going to Crue-fest. this ain't a love song. happy friday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LC du worlds, or Accomplishing the Preposterous

a month ago i was moaning to fatmammycat about the preposterous conceit of running 16miles at worlds when i could barely manage 3 on the treadmill. preposterous is just another fancy arsed word for ludicrous - she responded - and we KNOW ludicrous is easily bitch slapped senseless when up against reservoir deep. she was right.

long course du worlds
18k run – 78k bike – 9k run

if you're a cyclist, you can't do much better than belgium. there are usually smooth, glass-free dedicated bike lanes and when there aren't, drivers yield to you instead of firing invective and anything else they can find behind the passenger seat.

and the belgians know how to put on a race. the day before worlds, the local organisers treated us to an escorted pre-ride of a bike course that zigged and zagged through downtown geel before shooting back and forth between a couple roundabouts. we were in a rolling enclosure the entire time, protected by motos that would stop traffic along sidestreets, drop back behind and then zoom to the next intersection in a finely-coordinated dance. i felt like i was in the Tour. and nobody crashed or made any bone-headed moves. if we'd been triathletes there'd have been bodies all over the road.

one thing the race organisers couldn't do was control the weather, and when i woke before dawn on race-day morning a fine mist was falling from the sky, and it continued to fall off & on over the next 6 hours, just enough to keep the roads wet and the corners & cobbles slightly treacherous. but at least it wasn't hot!

after a short warmup i hit the loo for one final time and had a panic moment when i emerged to find transition empty and the start not where i thought it was. but it's not a proper race unless you almost miss the start, and once i was there standing behind the line cares and anxieties vanished. racing is the reward for all the BTW workouts, the packing, the visualising of bike in's and run out's, the 8th nervous poo; and once you're on the start line, you can relax because the hard stuff's done. fisch and the Oracle had laid out my race strategy so i didn't even have to think, just execute.

the first run was 4 laps of a 4.5k course that offered a couple out & backs so you could track how many people were in front of you -- and there were a LOT. the women's field wasn't big – about 50 – and half of them were ahead of me after the first 5k. the 40+ men had started 2 minutes ahead, and the fields began to mix halfway in. oh great - my pal bob had lamented before the race - i've got 2 minutes before all the estrogen in the world comes up my ass.

i ran with a couple other Team USA women for the first 2 laps because they were running a relaxed, loose pace. whatever you give up on the first run will more than come back to you on the second – the Oracle said – long course is very forgiving of a slow start. every couple k's i did a reality check to make sure i wasn't running 10min miles and looked for my teammate rich from NC, because his big happy grin reminded me how very cool it was just to be here in the first place.

i ran up on a german dude in a skinsuit and pulled alongside to pass. he was having none of this, however, and sped up a little. klaus the german was tall, and we were turning into a windy section, so i slotted behind and nestled in his draft. klaus was awesome. everytime i thought we were going a little too slow i'd run abreast of him and he'd speed up again. klaus was very accommodating, and he pulled me almost all the way to a clump of women just ahead. hooray for klaus.

in T1 i sacrificed some time stretching a couple talkative ITBs and then took off on the bike. the course was never boring: there was always something to do, like corner on cobblestones, wend your way through the feedzone and exploding waterbottles, and finesse a 180 on a 2-lane highway. at race pace, that 180 was an entirely different animal from the pre-ride, and on the first of the 4 laps i had to unclip and tap my way around it. oopsie! - i sang to a course marshal who seemed disappointed by the lack of drama. the second time around that 180 i was more bold, but the 3rd time i creeeeeeeeept around it like the bike and i were made of fine china. there was someone hot on my wheel as i came into the turn, someone who had to stutter to a crawl when i slowed down to minus-70mph inching around the barricade. when we straightened out the suffering soul shot by on my left – none other than klaus! oh, how he must hate my very bones.

the bike felt good, however, and i passed some women out there so i knew i was making up time. in my head were many voices: fisch, the Oracle, slick rik, fatmammycat and eileen the YMCA lifeguard who oversaw my snail-toils in the deep-end with the AquaJogger. you're going to do great, i just know it – she'd declared, as though all my bones were properly knit together. this host of voices nearly drowned out the irish washerwoman jig on the mental jukebox but not quite.

in T2 i nearly toppled over because my legs were so racked from the bike, but i decided to go with my flats instead of the trainers i took out for the first run. might as well give that mending metatarsal a test! i craved sugar too, so i rifled through my transition rucksack for a bag of jelly beans (Brachs, brah), stuffed them in my singlet pocket and shuffled into the second run. my feet felt like inanimate blocks, and i ran like frankenstein... but at least i had jelly beans. i rummaged in my pocket, cellophane snapping so loudly that a dude ahead of me flinched. i stuffed a handful in my mouth, oh the licorice ones are the BEST, just as the man turned around to see what all the commotion was about. i grinned at him, a big black goofy grin, and he shuddered and turned back around. jelly beans are great, see, because you can mash them to the roof of your mouth where they'll stay until the engine room calls for a little more gas, and you swirl your tongue up there and get some.

after a couple minutes the things at the ends of my legs started to feel like feet again... and look, here's klaus! hello klaus, how happy you must be to see me. would you like some jelly beans? no?? klaus did not have a good second run. i hope this is not because i bullied him too much in the first, being a chick and all.

i caught a couple more women and from the out & backs determined there were about 5 more ahead of me as i neared the finish. what i didn't know was that i was first in my age group until i crossed the line and the PA announced me a world champion. way to go, delaware! - deepak called from the stands and high-fived me as i headed toward the post-race eats, difficult to get down because of the shit-eating grin on my face.

and thus began a 10 or 12hr "recovery" period which FMC has already described. 'tis good to have friends.

Monday, August 18, 2008

belgium: great beer, shitty music

- when i say, we are running away to belgium, you don't ask any questions just pack your bags.
- Just say the word. I can sell the house and ship my stuff from Europe.

AJ speaks french and i can learn flemish so we'll do just fine in flanders, where the food, beer and cycling is fabulous. imagine a place where drivers yield to bikes, stopping in the middle of roundabouts to let bicycles cross. that is not a mythical land. that is belgium! in 11 days in flanders, i didn't have one bad -- or even mediocre -- meal. even the eel in green sauce was delectable, and i came home with a leetle belly. i call it my Leffe Pot though i believe there is also a bit of Chimay in there if the receipt for 6 Chimay triples i found in my pocket monday morning is to be believed. "just one more beer" -- hah!

the only reason i am not running back to belgium straightaway is the music, which is absolute shite. i was expecting jacques brel on the airwaves; instead i got tinny dancy techno that i can't imagine anyone on the planet liking unless you're a 25yo gay dude tripping on E. each song is indistinguishable from the next -- even Shazam choked and my iphone began to smoke a little so i can't even tell you what i heard. i never thought i would be so glad to hear mainstream radio, but when i was driving back from the philly airport saturday night and WMMR played GNR i wept with happiness. so unless i go deaf, belgium's out for now.

race report is coming. suffice it to say that when fatmammycat's waters move, you attend.

Friday, August 01, 2008

countdown to LC worlds: 1 week

tuesday i leave for belgium; long course du worlds are next sunday.

car rental: booked.

hotel: booked. well, mostly.

bike: packed.
race course pored over,
entry list scrutinised,
schedule memorised:
hah! as if.

this is good progress considering that a couple weeks ago i woke up in the middle of the night in a panic because i realised that i had no travel plans, no place to stay, no idea how i'd lug a bike box around by myself -- i didn't even HAVE a bike box. i vaguely remembered buying a plane ticket, but i couldn't remember the airline or the dates and i couldn't find any hard copy or electronic confirmation that the purchase hadn't been an absinthe-fueled dream. so i've come a long way, baby.

work is finally easing back to manageable levels, at least to where you can see how clipped your life's been so surely that means you've reached safer ground?? -and when people do nice things for you, they sink in instead of glancing off your hard shell. things like tuning up, disassembling and packing your bike for you; sending you jellies, your favorite toothpaste and a whiskey glass from faraway lands; and answering your apologetic request (because it is so hard to ask for help, even from your friends) for a ride to their airport in their pickup with an immediate and unhesitating "absolutely."

now, it's tapir time.
and MFBT, of course.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

doing our part

talked to me mum last night; my parents are soon off to a hiking trip in austria.

- we got waterproof covers for our backpacks. we got crampons. oh, and we got our stimulus check.
- sweet. just in time.

- just in time - she agreed - and you know what we did? we took it to the bank and cashed it for euros.

- way to stimulate the economy, mom.

- i just despise that man.

i cannot disagree and i'm just back from the bank after doing the same.


speaking of patriotism, take a gander at
this Dark Knight review which submits the following:

the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war.

it's no wonder then that ledger is stealing the show.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

pretty much sums up the week...pt2

thought of you - the mayor wrote when he emailed me this pic.
why?
because

-- instead of camping in the poconos over the 4th of july holiday, i will be working. still.
-- instead of watching the last day of swimming and track & field olympic trials on sunday night, i will be entertaining an infant, a 3yr old and a bipolar retired history teacher whose favorite subjects are hitler, napoleon and US presidents i've never even heard of.
-- there was no Scenery at the gym this morning.
-- i am listening to 3 Doors Down.
-- i am out of kumquats.

so, you see things are pretty dire.

OTOH, i did run 4miles on the treadmill this morning. i'm expecting the monty python foot to drop down and crush me at any time today or tomorrow, but the fact remains that i did run.

and, i know where i can find more kumquats, 3DD is better than Daughtry, he will be back, maybe the 3yo will throw up in her lap again and at least i'm working on the Lapple. so this too shall pass and it shall do so after some jameson tonight and no mistake.