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!