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., 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 "" 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:
Letting You
March of the Pigs
Head Down
The Frail
Gave Up
The Warning
5 Ghosts I
17 Ghosts II
19 Ghosts III
Ghosts Piggy
The Greater Good
Wish (w/ Pinion intro)
Terrible Lie
The Big Come Down
31 Ghosts IV
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole
God Given
The Good Soldier
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."


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.


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' 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.