Year2001

One Year

     I never thought a year could seem to go by so quickly, yet seem so long at the same time.

Really stupid thing I did

     So apparently someone I know made it backstage at tonights Sloan show in Detroit and had Chris Murphy call my cell phone. He left a voice message. After I listened to it, I promptly pressed 7, as I always do. Unfortunately, 7 means delete. I AM AN IDIOT. If you are the person who got Chris Murphy to call my cell phone, let me know.

Update!

     It was Zach Norton. Thanks, Zach!

Links n' such

     This looks like it’s going to be one of those updates where I post a lot of links to other people’s stuff. This is because I haven’t done that in a long while, and the pile of magazine clippings and feverishly scribbled notes to myself is becoming unmanagable. I’ll get all the usual rambling out of the way first, and then make with the linkage.

     I’m pulling double duty as The Recital and the Pop Project both play this Friday the 16th at The Halfway Inn in Ann Arbor. There is an online flyer here, and approximate directions can be had here. This will be the first time I miss a Sloan show in the Detroit / Windsor area in roughly seven years. Also, if anyone wants to see Sonic Boom playing Spacemen 3 songs at the Magic Stick for free this friday instead of either show mentioned above, get in touch.

     The other night I bowled a 150. This is odd because I suck at bowling and I’ve only bowled one other time in the last 5 years. Even odder is the fact that this game included a turkey (3 strikes in a row). Gobble gobble.

     This weekend I went to a party with the best theme ever: everyone brings a mix tap/cd, and throws it in a container of some sort upon arrival. When leaving, everyone reaches into said container and removes a mix tape / cd. Genius! I got a cd with a good songs by Trembling Blue Stars and Album Leaf on it. But then, I cheated.

     My cd was assembled at the absolute last minute. I listened to it on the way to the party and realized I had put a song that ends in one solid minute of feedback in the middle of the CD. Then, I proceeded to leave the cd in my cd player, and put the empty case in the container o’ mixes. Fortunately (Or unfortunately, considering the content) the person who got my empty case came back for the CD.

     I also managed to spill two containers of liquid on the exact same chunk of carpet. These spills resulted from two separate lapses in coordination, occurring hours apart from each other. Hurrah!

     So there was this woman in Barnes and Noble the other day. She was buying books, but that wasn’t the important part. The important part was that she kept calling her son “Dude.” It was obvious she was his mother because he kept calling her “Mommy,” but she kept saying things like “Hold on a minute, Dude.” and “Hey Dude, there’s your book!” She did it so often and in such an offhanded manner that it didn’t seem to be a joke or anything. She never emphasized the word as someone saying it for comedic effect would, and the son never reacted like this was out of the ordinary. The only satisfactory solution my brain could come to was that she had named her son Dude, which is possibly the greatest thing ever.

     Also: There was a woman in this weekend who bought a Harry Potter movie calender. This woman was of the “Inspect each item on the reciept REALLY DRAMATICALLY after the purchase is complete in order to intimidate cashier” school of shopping. Now, “Harry Potter Movie Calender” doesn’t fit on the reciepts. In fact, it gets abbreviated to: “Harry Potter Movie.”

Her: (Pointing angrily to reciept) What is this? I didn’t want a Harry Potter movie.

Me: No, that’s this (holding up box that obviously contains a calender).

(Pause)

Her: But we thought it was a calender.

Me: It is.

(Pause)

Her: (Pointing at reciept) But it says movie on here.

Me: (Opening box, showing her that it is in fact a calender.) Right, it’s a Harry Potter MOVIE calender. It’s got scenes from the movie.

Her: Ok, that’s a calender, but why did you charge me for the movie?

Me: Ma’am we don’t sell the movie. This item on the reciept is the calender (Shows her that prices correspond.)

Her: But.. why does it say… if.. Hm. I’m not sure if I want this then. I’ll come back. (Walks away scrutinizing reciept.)

I hate people!

     Really dorky thing you should do, even if you’re not really dorky, because then really dorky people will have something to do while you’re off “painting the town” this December:

     Mystery Science Theatre 3000 has been a favorite show of mine for a long time, much to the chagrin of basically everyone I know. They haven’t been making new episodes for quite awhile now, but the Sci-Fi channel has been playing reruns on Saturday mornings. This December, it will be going off the air indefinately. “MSTies,” as fans of the show are called (Stop laughing!) are pushing to get Sci-Fi to run a farewell marathon. Here’s how you can help: On November 24th, send email to program@scifi.com saying you support the idea of a marathon. There is a very poorly designed website providing information on more involved ways of contacting Sci-Fi, if you’re into that. Thank you.

     Bonk Music in the UK stumbled upon some fan mail written to porn stars. Naturally, they decided to record it as spoken word and put the result out on a 7″. Their site offers a sample MP3 here, as well as three sample letters (1, 2, 3). They’ll also sell you a t-shirt with a few of the letters lovingly silscreened across the front. Did I mention the MP3 is read in a stuffy british accent? Because it is. And if it doesn’t make you laugh for roughly an hour, then something is wrong with you.

     Two good sites that deal with unusual instruments:

The first is a site about the late Harry Partch and all the instruments he built. This page has a drop down menu at the bottom that lets you select from a list of his creations. Each instrument has its own page with a photo and text describing it’s construction and function. Examples:

Cloud Chamber Bowls
From 10 to 12 tops and bottoms of 12-gallon Pyrex carboys (the bottoms are inverted). At the University of California Radiation Laboratory, at one time, centers were cut from such carboys for use in “cloud-chamber” experiments. Played on the edges with small soft mallets, also on the flat tops. The bowls give a bell-like tone, and each has at least one inharmonic overtone. When one of them breaks it is virtually impossible to find an exact duplicate.

Chromelodeon I
Reeds are inserted for a 43-tone-to-the-octave scale. Thus, an acoustic octave covers that many keys and reeds, successively, and measures some three and a half keyboard octaves. The scale is in just intonation, and each tone is a frequency ratio to a fundamental, shown on the keyboard by colors. With the thirteen sub-bass reeds, and the stops for higher and lower tones in the second cell row, the total range of the instrument is from the lowest piano C to the third C# above middle C, slightly more than five acoustic octaves. All the other instruments are tuned to the Chromelodeon.

     The next site deals with the “first viennese vegetable orchestra.” Basically, it’s a bunch of crazy folks who play music made completely with vegetables. At the end of each performance, they throw their instruments into a stew, and eat them. Genius! Click here to view their site, here to browse some of their instruments, and here to download an MP3 sample of their work.

     I was recently sent a link to this insanely huge collection of archival and public domain footage. If you’re a crazy “DJ” type, this looks to be the one stop shop for loading up on zany “samples” for next time you “spin.” Alternately, it’s a bunch of cheesy old video to watch. File under: Things that may or may not have been projected behind Man… or Astroman during a live performance (Actually, that gives the impression that it’s all space / science related, which it’s not. For example, here are two (1, 2) stop motion animations of dancing cigarrettes, produced by Lucky Strike in the 1940’s. Yes. Yes!)

     If you’re in the mood to hear a few dozen kids belt out slightly “off” arrangements of Beach Boys and Bowie songs, then click here and be dazzled by the 60 piece Langley Schools Music Project. A quote from Hans Fenger, the “Supervisor/Arranger” of the project:

     “I knew virtually nothing about conventional music education, and didn’t know how to teach singing. Above all, I knew nothing of what children’s music was supposed to be. But the kids had a grasp of what they liked: emotion, drama, and making music as a group. Whether the results were good, bad, in tune or out was no big deal — they had elàn. This was not the way music was traditionally taught. But then I never liked conventional ‘children’s music,’ which is condescending and ignores the reality of children’s lives, which can be dark and scary. These children hated ‘cute.’ They cherished songs that evoked loneliness and sadness.”

     If you’re too lazy to click over to the page, here are direct links to MP3’s of their versions of Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and the Beach Boys’ “In My Room.” I stole this link from scrubbles, which has had tons of good audio links lately.

     Fellow Bjork fans who don’t already know about it will probably be pretty excited to find out that Bjork Remix Web exists. It’s a Japanese website that hosts scores of remixes of almost every song Bjork has ever committed to tape. There are even remixes of b-side covers, such as this super-good mix of “I Remember You.” (For those who’ve never heard Bjork’s original mix: it features only her voice and what sounds like an autoharp. This mix has full instrumentation.) If the prospect of sorting through hundreds of remixes to find the diamonds in the rough is unappealing to you, you’ll also be happy to learn that there is an extensive peer review system in place, and most reviewers are painfully honest when a mix isn’t worth the bandwidth. Someone with a fast connection should download all the good ones and send me a cd.

     Maybe you already knew that you can tour the crazy top secret 14 million dollar cold war bunker in West Virginia that was declassified in 1992? I did not know this. This seems interesting to me. Perhaps I am insane.

     This is the “secret” site that was put up to coincide with the release of the latest Spiritualized record. Everything is in realmedia. Bah.

     It looks as though I’ve exhausted my pile o’ links. Just a quick question: does anyone remember that movie about obsessive record collectors that showed at last year’s CMJ? What was it called? And did it ever get released? Thanks!

Ninjas, Drums

     The other day my friend Cyndi called me to say that she had just passed a house that was throwing away a full sized arcade game in my neck of the woods. Naturally I dropped everything (Not that there was much to drop, mind) and ran over to said house. There I found a thrashed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machine. The cabinet was in such bad shape that it wouldn’t have been worth the work, so I pulled the boards out and plugged ‘em into my cabinet at home. Turns out the board is of British origin (Note the “Hero” instead of “Ninja.” The brits did this to all TMNT merchindise.) and it works perfectly. Score!


     I played my first show on Drums with the Pop Project on Saturday night. I hadn’t played my drum set in a live situation since late 1997, so this show opened my eyes to a whole slew of problems I need to fix. If you are a drum-type person perhaps you can help me. I have a Ludwig drum set. I need to replace one of the chrome things that holds the legs on the bass drum, and I also need to replace the chrome mounting bracket thingy that holds the T-bar in place. Since that last sentance made no sense whatsoever, please reference the photos below.


Here are ways you can help.

  • You know the correct names for these parts.

  • You know what years Ludwig manufactured Bass drums like the one shown above.
  • You know where I can get these parts.
  • You have these parts for sale.
  • You have these parts and want to give them to me.

If any of the above statements are true of you, please get in touch.

Three things to be excited about: DVD, Game, TV.

     One last thing: Awhile ago there was a site that was hosting every episode of Mr. Show. Naturally, I lost the link before I finished downloading everything. If you have this link, please pass it along. Thanks!

Popular among epileptics

     On the local music / self promotion tip, here is a list of shows that bands I am in are playing. Come one, come all.

Saturday, November 3rd
Halfway Inn in Ann Arbor
– The Sights
– The Pop Project
[I’ll be playing drums for the Pop Project. Expect a bunch of new songs and a few from their full length CD.]

Friday November 9th
Magic Stick in Detroit
– Red Shirt Brigade (CD Release show)
– Judah Johnson
– The Recital
– Windy & Carl
[Rob, the drummer in the Recital is currently working 3 jobs, therefore making it difficult for us to perform as frequently as we’d like. Because of this situation, we spent one Friday night a few weeks back setting microphones and cameras up around Rob’s drum set. We then had him play through our set, recording the audio on a digital 8 track and switching between the four cameras. This was all put on a video tape, which is going to be used as the “drummer” for this and our November 16th show. We’ve done one “test-run,” at the Lager house in Detroit which elicited some kind words from the Metro Times. If this crazy experiment sounds at all interesting to you, you should come out to one of these shows and watch us squirm. Chances are this will be the more challenging of the two “video” shows, as we’ll have to run the faux drums through the Magic Stick’s PA, whereas we will have more control over them at the November 16th show. Also, this is the release show for RSB’s full length, “Home of the Cannon Saints,” and Judah Johnson and Windy & Carl are playing. Also: It’s all ages! How can you not go?]

Friday November 17th
Halfway Inn in Ann Arbor
– Hot Paws
– The Pop Project
– The Recital
[Same story as above, except I’ll have my drums there for the Pop Project Set, so The Recital will likely play the two songs I don’t play bass on, with me on drums.]

     Dear religious people who go to the church directly behind B&N every Sunday morning and insist on coming in afterwards to drink coffee and leave gi-nourmous piles of Christian Inspiration books throughout the store: I have a message for you. Christ contacted me earlier in the week and asked that I pass it along. Here is the message:

Hey fuckwads,
     Please shelve your fucking books or I will make sure you rot in hell.
Just because I was a hippie doesn’t mean I was a slob.

yer pal,

JC

Thank you. Peace be with you.

     Some photos I took of Spiritualized @ the Majestic in Detroit, 10/30/01:




     How was it? Very good. For much of the show, there were 12 people playing on stage. Jason will probably fire them all after this tour, though, so don’t get too attached. Also: It’s a safe bet that ‘Attending Spiritualized shows’ is not a popular activity among epileptics.

     I saw Man… or Astroman again this weekend. Rather than write another boring show review that everyone will skip over, I summed up my opinions in the form of a graph. The really sad part is that I am not joking. Click here to see it. Oh wait, one thing I will talk about is how at one point, they refused to go on with their set until everyone in the Magic Stick was kneeling. That was pretty impressive.

     In case you’re keeping tabs on my T.V. watching habits, you’ll be happy to learn that I still watch way too much TV. Shows I am currently watching include
Undeclared (Which is easily my favorite show),
The Real World (Which isn’t so great lately), The Amazing Race (Which is Better than Survivor), Survivor 3 (Which is completely lame so far), The Practice (The reruns on FX have me addicted), and Dismissed (Speaking of Dismissed, has anyone else noticed that the underage contestants often end up drinking alcohol? Apparently laws don’t apply to MTV.)

Movies I really want to see:

  • Waking Life – Melding of live action and animation by Richard Linklater. You can download six movie clips form the official site:
    1,
    2,
    3,
    4,
    5,
    6.

  • Amelie – From the folks who brought you delicatessan and City of Lost Children.

     An extremely interesting tour of the remains of various Motown related buildings in Detroit is here. This comes from the Fabulous ruins of Detroit site which has been linked here numerous times.

     Brian at Bipolar conducted an interview of sorts with me via email. Click here to find out what I had to say about various things.

Alarmingly high rate of speed

     Have you ever been in a situation where your brain and mouth got in a fight and refused to communicate with each other? I don’t mean in the ‘You said something stupid and later regretted it’ sense, but more the ‘You lost physical control of your mouth during speech’ sense. Because that happened to me the other day.

     Some friends and I were in the drive-thru at Burger King, and the drive-thru worker person asked if we wanted any sauces or anything of that nature. One of the passengers in my vehicle wanted ranch dressing. So I turned to the BK person and attempted to communicate this fact. Unfortunately, it was at roughly this juncture that my brain and mouth ceased communicating.

     “We’d like some Rahhhhhhhhhh-auuuunch.” is what came out. Which, to the casual Burger King Window Person, sounds like “We’d like some raunch.” Naturally, my friends laughed their asses off, and the window person ended up giving us extra food for free. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps she considers their food raunchy.

     Fair warning for anyone I know who has not seen me in awhile, in the form of an AIM conversation:

Me: also i am pretending i am able to grow a beard so do not be alarmed.

Them: NO

Them: NO NO NO

Me: it is only an experiment to see if i can do it.

Me: ha!

Them: dude no

Them: groooosss

Me: I have to do it so I can do funny facial hair experiments.

Me: it is for the greater good of this earth, trust me

Them: rofl

Them: i just sent that to krysta cause it was too funny

Me: seriously it’s going to ruke.

Me: actually it will rule.

Me: but possibly it will ruke as well

How To Really Fuck Up Your Friday Afternoon

By Adam Kempa

     One way to really fuck up your Friday afternoon would be to be playing drums. In the course of this drum-playing, you should bring your right elbow back at an alarmingly high rate of speed. This elbow should then collide with the corner of the doorway which you stupidly set your drums up in front of. Next, you should hop around, unable to speak, and experience unbelievable pain. During this time you should consider the possibility that you’ve broken your arm. Next, the pain will start to go away. Except for now your entire right HAND will be sort of numb. This should persist for over an hour so you should decide to get doctors involved. Next you should go to the urgent care place. They will give you X-Rays and make jokes about the lead protecting your future children from having three eyes. They will tell you that nothing is broken, but that you’ve bruised a muscle of some sort, and that you have traumatized your ulnar nerve. Now you can go home! Except your hand is still numb and it’s 4 hours later! Mission accomplished!

     About a year and a half ago I did a survey thingy about mixtapes. I’ve been pretty lax about updating it so if you sent me something and it never appeared, I apologize. I just got the following submission (from one Mr. Brent Elliott), and it reminded me that it was kind of a cool idea. So feel free to send a submission (or an update) if you haven’t already.

“I ran across your site quite by accident, and I’m going to suggest some
snotty mix tape rules, if you don’t mind. Here goes:

1) Don’t use a conversation (or a web site) about mix tapes to throw in
comments proving that you know rare tracks from even rarer bands. Nobody
cares. Remember, there will always be people 1000 times cooler than you,
and if you play that game, you’re going to get burned.

2) Don’t put crap on that you don’t really like. This should be a no
brainer, but people have suggested going over your head to look cool and
diverse. That means you’re probably someone who is force feeding yourself
another Will Oldham album, desperately trying to find an angle that you can
like it from. Mix tapes can get you into someone’s pants. Treat the format
with respect.

3) Top tip! If a ends on an A minor chord, try following it with a song that
starts on the same chord. This works particularly well for a song that
fades out, trailing into a song that breaks in quickly. For a song with an
abrupt finish, going into a similarly abrupt starting, try using
complementary chords instead. Use your ears on this one, but one that
usually works is if a song ends on a major chord, have the next one start a
half step down and minor. This is where the mix CD format comes in handy.
You can use iTunes or whatever to arrange a playlist and shuffle tracks
until the CD has got more flow than Jay-Z on his period.

4) Top tip! Mix tapes are better than CDs, because you can set the recording
level from track to track. But if it’s gotta be a CD, make sure that people
don’t turn up their speakers for one track, and then get blown away on the
next track. You’re never going to get laid if you blow someone’s car stereo
speakers, okay?”

Well said.

     Ryan Allen of Red Shirt Brigade fame used AOL Instant Messenger to ambush (AIMbush?) everyone’s favorite Olympian, Calvin Johnson. He posted the resulting conversation as an ‘Interview.’ If you know even a little bit about K records and / or Washington indie rock, you will laugh.

     I drove to Toronto to see Bjork this past Monday. My friend Chris and I were the only ones to make the trek, and those of you who know us know that we are the two worst navigators in the entire world. Amazingly, we made it all the way to Toronto without screwing up the directions once. This is probably not amazing to most people but for us this was amazing. Even more amazing is the fact that once we arrived at the theatre, we were able to orient ourselves within the city (without a map!) and figure out where we wanted to go to kill time. So we walked down to HMV, thinking we’re navigational gods, and they’re closed! And so is Sam the Record Man! It turns out it was Canadian Thanksgiving, and that is a bunch of crap. I don’t understand why they have a different thanksgiving, or why columbus day is their thanksgiving, or why this should keep me from buying records, but you’re more than welcome to try explaining it to me.

     We eventually just wandered back to the theatre and waited for them to open the doors. The venue was the Hummingbird Centre, and it was absolutely ridiculous. Apparently they usually do musicals and that sort of thing there, so it was super classy. The hummingbird has a nice site here, where you can see a little animated pnoramic view of the theatre. They even had programs. The capacity is listed at 3,223 and we had pretty good main floor seats (Thank you, internet).

Some observations:

  • They ripped the tickets wrong. You know how there are two perferations on ticketmaster tickets? And one of them is the universal “rip here upon entry” perferation? Well, they ripped the other one at this show. I don’t know if this was a “Just the Hummingbird” thing or a “We’re Canadian and goddamnit we do everything different” thing.

  • Chris Murphy of Sloan and his lady were right near us waiting to get into the seating area.

     Matmos opened the show with all sorts of crazy sampling antics. They played music on a mic’d birdcage by plucking and bowing its bars. Their M.O. seems to be as follows: one of the Matmos lads fiddles around with something (ie acoustic guitar, balloon, themselves, etc.) and the other one samples it and chops it up in real time using a laptop. Very entertaining if a bit artsy in that pretentious sort of way.

     After a fifteen minute intermission, Bjork took the stage in her much celebrated swan dress, as the giant music box (as seen on her David Letterman appearance) played ‘Frosti.’ Next the orchestra played the overture from ‘Dancer in the Dark,’ and Bjork finally began the set proper with ‘All is Full of Love’ and ‘Unravel’ from Homogenic. This first set was a fairly low-key collection of songs from Homogenic, Selmasongs and her latest effort, Vespertine. She closed the first set with a contrastingly unreserved version of the older non-album track ‘Play Dead’ before leaving the stage for a brief intermission.

     For the second set, Bjork emerged in a dress made from red microscope slides and ostrich feathers. The microscope slides would clatter together making a sort of tambourine-like sound when she would move. If you’re having trouble visualizing this, it’s probably because I’m not explaining it very well. Some good photographic references are here, here and here; and you can read about the folks who make these crazy dresses here. The second set heavily featured material from Post, broken up by one song each from Vespertine (‘Pagan Poetry’), and Debut (‘Venus as a Boy’); and concluding with ‘Bachlorette’ from Homogenic. The highlight was easily ‘Hyperballad,’ which undoubtedly had much of the crowd cursing the arranged seating. The opening snare bit was provided by one of those crazy Matmos fellers, played on some sort of electronic drum pad while his counterpart pitch-shifted the output.

     Bjork came back for just one encore, which included her first single, ‘Human Behaviour,’ and an unreleased song called ‘In Our Hands.’ ‘In Our Hands’ featured some exemplary real time sampling from Matmos. The song included breaks every so often where everyone on the stage would clap together. While they were doing this, Matmos were recording the claps and speeding them up into beats that would introduce the next part of the song. Very cool.

A whole bunch of reviews of the show can be found here. Some of them are pretty funny. Example:

“Highlights (in order):

1. The large quantity of hot gay guys in attendance (and the abundance of hot people all round!). The hotter and richer, the closer to the stage. Now I know how Cher fans feel!”

     We left for Detroit after the show and at about 2:30 AM I got a speeding ticket. I had been driving for about an HOUR behind a TRUCK on a highway that was closed down to ONE LANE for NO APPARENT REASON, so when the construction ended, I passed the slowest truck ever, and sped up a little. Naturally, there was a cop waiting with all his lights off a half mile away from the end of the construction zone. I’d also like to note that the speed I got a ticket for is legal in the U.S.

     In other “I LOVE POLICE” news, you’ll all be happy to learn that the Livonia Police Department has taken up a new hobby: ticketing ONLY cars that park in front of my house. All those other cars? They’re okay, man. Cars in front of my house? Watch out. The fact that this was a blatantly retaliatory move is not lost on me and that makes me think even less of our law enforcement folk (I didn’t even think it was possible!). If you encounter any Livonia Police officers, feel free to glare at them because they deserve it.

     Two weeks ago I ventured out BY MYSELF (thanks a lot, friends) to see the one and only Tenacious D. I ended up running into a few folks I knew though, so it all worked out. The set included covers of GN’R’s ‘Mr. Brownstone,’ The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” and the entire Closing medly from “Abbey Road.” Also, it was hilarious. Visit the D at their website, www.greatestbandonearth.com.

     If this web page were an episode of The Daily Show, this would be your moment of zen: Dave Letterman holding a White Stripes CD.

Hey, I'm sympathetic to the record industry, too!

Spiritualized Ice Cubes

Hey I’m back. A few things:

  • I switched the server on basically every site I maintain.

  • I managed to delete my August 29th entry, so on the off chance that you found it so amusing you saved it, I’d love a copy….yeah I didn’t think so.
  • Chriskempa.com has been redesigned and is slowly gaining new features if you’re interested.
  • The Recital site has been updated with three (3!) upcoming shows (In Mt. Pleasant, Ann Arbor and Detroit).
  • If you want to see me take a stab at playing drums (Not with the Recital), head to the halfway inn in Ann Arbor on November 3rd.

Moving on, a few Barnes & Noble Rants:

NOSTRADAMUS.
PEOPLE.
THAT EMAIL YOU GOT?
NOT TRUE.
TRUST ME.
PROOF?

     Yeah, so everyone and their brother wants to buy books about nostradamus. Also, they get extremely testy when you try and tell them they are being had. On the days after the ‘incident’ I probably told more people that we were out of Nostradamus books than I told where the bathroom is and what time we closed COMBINED (That’s a fucking LOT). Particularly staunch believers will snidely question the bookseller’s prophetic credentials when they are told that the quotation that was BULK EMAILED to them is not, in fact, accurate. Because we ALL know how valuable BULK EMAIL is. I propose that all bookstores put up a table with a sign reading “Complete horseshit,” stock it with Nostradamus and Oprah books, sit back, and rake in the cash.

     Additionally, recent months have seen a resurgence in the patronage of the angry, less-than-bright, borderline elderly housewife with plenty of disposable income. Examples:

Me: That’ll be $34.27.

Her: Do you have any pretty packages?

Me: I’m sorry?

Her: Pretty packages…for… you know… pretty packages.

Me: Like gift wrap? or boxes?

Her: NO, PRETTY PACKAGES.

Me: ….

Her: OH FORGET IT!

     A woman wanted a Michaelangelo biography, so I took her to the ‘artists’ section and began browsing the M’s. She eyed me suspiciously for a few seconds before expressing her annoyance:

Her: I wanted a biography on Michaelangelo.

Me: Right.

Her: So why are you looking here?

Me: Um… because this is where they would be?

Her: (In a tone sympathetically suggesting her vastly superior intelligence) Shouldn’t you be looking under the A’s?

Michaelangelo. Michael Angelo. I didn’t have the heart to tell her.

     Finally, the male counterpart to these women came in demanding a book called “Flames of Fire” by Tom Brokaw. Tom Brokaw has written no such book. He insisted he couldn’t possibly have any element of the title or author wrong, the problem, you see, was with our DAMN computers. Any attempt to gather further information about the book was seen by him as an assault on his personal credibility. As a last resort I took him to the American History section, where we shelve our Tom Brokaw books. Within seconds of arriving in the section, we had found his book. It was “Flags of our Fathers” by James Bradly. Worst of all, he didn’t even acknowledge his mistake. He said “Here it is!” turned, and stalked up to the register.
Remember:

“Flames of Fire” = “Flags of our Fathers”
Tom Brokaw = James Bradley

     You’ll note that of the 6 words that comprise the correct title and author, he had ONE of the words correct, and that one word was “of.” Usually when this happens, a customer tops it off by complaining about my service (I’ve grown accustomed to it). This one did not. Perhaps he was slightly embarrassed. This may seem obvious but most of these people lack the ability to feel embarrassment, let alone consider the possibility that they may be wrong.

     A Belgian artist has constructed an installation that, when fed two meals a day, simulates the processes of the human digestive system and ultimately produces a reasonable facsimile of human waste. He has named it Cloaca. Read all about it. [via cardhouse]

     This is the special edition pacakging for the latest Spiritualized record, and if you stare at it long enough, the recessed image of the girl appears to pop out. Actually it kind of looks that way in the picture, but in reality, it is a recessed image. Also, if you were to fill it with water and put it in the freezer, you could make Spiritualized ice cubes.

     Bret Easton Ellis’ novel ‘Rules of Attraction’ is being made into a movie. I was going to say ‘Hopefully it will be better than American Psycho,’ but then I saw that James Van Der Beek is starring. Supposedly Fred ‘Wonder Years’ Savage is newly attached to the film. We can only Hope Van Der Beek bowed out of the role.

     If you’re a film dork who’s into the whole DVD thing, you may or may not have been privy to a magazine called ‘Total Movie’ that put out a few issues before ceasing publication earlier this year. Each issue contained a DVD with all sorts of fun short films, interviews, and trailers. Well, they’re back. And if you subscribe, they’re offering you 46 free DVD’s. I’m not quite sure how this works, but it seems too good to be true. If you can clarify this, by all means, get in touch.

     Some crazy folks have deemed November ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ The gist of it, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is that participants will write a complete novel in one month’s time. I am going to do this. And you should too.

Pants-rich

     I was walking behind this couple coming back from the grocery store on my lunch break, and I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation:

Female: …so you NEVER spend your change?

Male: Nope. I save it all up and at the end of the year I buy myself something.

Female: Wow.

Male: Last year I bought a GUN (His emphasis!).

They didn’t say anything else the rest of the time I was behind them.

      I was cleaning my room the other day and I opened a drawer that was full of pants of various varieties. Thing is, I have no recollection of putting these pants in this drawer or even of acquiring some of these pairs of pants. I’d imagine they’ve been there for awhile, as I haven’t opened that drawer in ages. So yes, I am newly pants-rich. Pants. Pants!

     You may or may not be interested in playing some Kempa.com football pick ‘em. Here’s how it works: a bunch of kids who know practically nothing about football start up a free fantasy football legue and play against each other. It’s super easy, all you do is pick the teams with the meanest sounding names each week and hope for the best. Usually one or two people who actually know about sports end up ruining it for everyone (Example: Rob, the drummer for The Recital, who once wanted to cancel a show because it fell on ‘Draft Day’ for his REAL fantasy football league) but we forgive them.

     You don’t need to watch the games or read the sports section or anything. All you do is guess who will win every week. I’m not going to bore everyone with the directions on how to join, but if you do want to join, email me. The first week’s picks have to be in by 10:00 AM Sunday.

     A few quick things I want to mention:

  • I was having server problems earlier in the week, so you may or may not have seen the last update. Check it.
  • The Recital web site has moved. It is now at http://therecital.com. Thanks, Joe.
  • The Suburban Sprawl Music site has been updated with news, the ability to accept credit card orders, and new items for sale from nymb, Red Shirt Brigade, Document, and the Recital. Have at it.
  • This is your new favorite band (Courtesy of trevor, who opines that the guy on the far left is reminiscent of a “Robotic raccoon.”

Lost Post

     I am an idiot and I lost this day’s post. It figures, because it was wickedly long. I tried rewriting it but it all came out crappy. Here are the pictures that were used with short descriptions of their intent:

     Bjork released her latest album, ‘Vespertine’ on twelve CD’s, each containing one song. This is one of them. I was attempting to get people to help me find the others. I’ve found three of the twelve. If you can help me find more I will love you. The original description of this picture was written from Bjork’s point of view and mentioned something about me being insane.

     This is a new drink that’s out there. It is shaped like a grenade and has a pin on the cap. The original description said that it was BOMBALICIOUS!

This is the box a radioshack speaker came in.

The original description was something to the effect of:

Radio Shack Executive 1: D’ya think we should we change the box art?

Radio Shack Executive 2: ….Naaaaaahhh.

     I went and saw Eric’s Trip play in Toronto and then wrote a big gushy piece about how much I loved them in my youth and how great it was to finally see this band that I’d obsessed over perform. Then I deleted it. On accident, of course. Photos I took:

     The day after I drove to Toronto, saw Eric’s Trip and drove home, all in one day, I drove to Kalamazoo to see Ted Leo. I played Mrs. Pac Man next to Ted Leo as he played Donkey Kong, and we spoke openly about our respective gaming frustrations. He was not very good at Donkey Kong.

     I saw a guy unicycling down my street in business casual wear while I was cutting the lawn. This made me smile, because I imagined that he unicycled to and from work.

     Moral of this post: Don’t switch servers because you will inevitably delete something that you didn’t make a backup copy of.

What I did on my summer vacation: Toronto

     We left for Toronto way early, and made really good time. After checking into our hotel in some outlying suburb whose name I forget, we went off to the venue. When we got to the general area of the venue we of course took a wrong turn and drove in the wrong direction for several miles. We ended up getting there at around 3:30. We all peed on the way in (which turned out to be a very, very good idea).

     This time around, we were up at the gate waiting for them to open it. While waiting, four of us played an epic game of ‘War’ and I emerged victorious. This killed an hour or two.

     What we failed to realize was that there were three gates. waiting for hours and then seeing a surge of people pour in from a gate that is not the one you are waiting at sucks big. Seeing it happen again, sucks even worse. When they finally let our gate in, we got pretty close to the stage, but we were way to the left, almost in the middle of the giant screen.

     It was super super hot, so people kept giving up and leaving the front area. Slowly but surely we moved in and up until we were very close and right in front of where Ed would be on stage.

     Radiohead were once again fucking incredible. I must make the distinction of fucking incredible, because incredible isn’t a strong enough word for it. This show and the toronto show were two completely different experiences, because of the differing views. In Toronto I couldn’t see the screens at all unless I turned around. You can see my pictures from the Toronto show by clicking here.

     We had made a sign with letters “N-U-D-E” out of hotel stationary to hold up in an attempt to convince the band to play the unreleased song that is commonly called either “Nude” or “Big Ideas.” At the beginning of the first encore, while all the white lights around the front of the crowd were up, we held it up so that Ed could see it. Another of our party who had managed to make it to the very front hollared for it, and they played it. This made me very, very, very happy. You can see the setlist and some reviews here.

     Moving on to some other random Toronto Pictures, we find that Lays makes some mean ‘Regular Nature’ chips. Which is good because I was starting to get sick of all those fancy types of nature.

     We saw posters for this melding of Macbeth and the Simpsons all over the place. If you know anything about it, or maybe have even seen it, feel free to tell me all about it.

Who down with OPP?

A few letters I’ve been meaning to write:

Dear Toronto,
     I am super, super allergic to you.
But you were still fun!
yer pal,
ak

Dear Radiohead,
     Please stop making your shirts in ‘heroin addict’ sizes. When I need to buy an ‘XXL’ to approximate the ‘L’ I usually wear, something is not right. Also, please continue to rock in earnest.
yer pal,
ak

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