Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My new favorite music blog, An Aquarium Drunkard pointed me to this survey by Paste Magazine of the Top 20 Living Songwriters. Seems that he has just signed one of the choices, Bloodkin's Daniel Hutchens to his brand spanking new label. So go check out his blog for tons of unreleased Ryan Adams, Jay Farrar, and the magnificent (and new to me) Kathleen Edwards and then go vote for his newest artist. Remember: Tom Verlaine is way at the bottom so save a vote for him.

P.S. 100th post.

Monday, February 27, 2006

ESPN currently has NC State as a 4 seed. It seems like the first round should be a lock, but we have a record of blowing clutch games. They get all my love, but I won't be putting (much) money on them. My boss took NC State on the money line against Carolina. I told him he was retarded. We love showing ACC teams just how badly we can play.

My three previous picks are inching up, so two of them will be "surprises" and not upsets. Bucknell is a 8 seed and they will go the second round. Nevada is an 8 and they should get through the first round. Colorado is a 12, and they might do alright depending on who they play. Six of their seven losses are in conference but they don't really have any big Ws.

  • Memphis will not go to the Final Four. They will probably not be in the Elite Eight.

  • The Zags will not make it to the Elite Eight.

  • NC State will go out in the second round

  • Marquette, Bucknell, and Wisconsin Mil. will all show up, and once again everybody will be like OMGWTFMILWAUKIE?

  • First round upsets: UAB, Wisc. Mil., Colorado and UNCW.

NC State plays our last game away in Winston Saturday at 4:00 on CBS. Send Herb a little prayer if yer the prayin' type, because lord knows we'll only get another 1983 with some divine assistance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I didn't finish it in time. In honor of this great post, and the sentiment behind it, I wrote my own. No names were changed to protect the innocent, but memories have a tendancy to mutate over time, so please tread on mine lightly.

I have never been smooth around girls. In this particular case, I didn't actually know yet how awkward I was around them. Her name was Cassie, and we were in the Fifth Grade together. I knew that I had a crush on her at the time, but it only got worse when we went to the same middle school together. We had a few common friends. Paul (who's friendship dissolved one night when his fucking cat wouldn't leave me alone, and his divorced mother brought home a boyfriend, something I had never personally seen before, an adult with children dating, and the worst part, Paul wouldn't let me play Sonic even though he had been playing all night) had dated her for however long middle-school relationships last -- one or two weeks, but I was sure that my bond with Cassie was stronger than his. The only two problems were that she didn't know it, and I couldn't tell her.

Throughout our time at Northwest Junior High, friends tried to get us together. At one of my first school dances we danced together under the dimmed lights of the cafeteria. Sort of. I was so hysterical, if I remember correctly, that we stood a full two feet apart. If I could see it now, it would most likely be one of the most hilarious scenes of my life to date: rigid arms grasping the slight bulge above her hips (the product of wearing a dress too small, I imagine, but one which left me with an impression of what a girl wearing a dress is supposed to feel like, the recollection of which is always enough to elicit a smile), her - four inches taller than him, him - sweating profusely through pressed dress shirt, both looking frightened as if dancing with an octopus, or a hyena bearing teeth, maybe. It wasn't the worst dance in my life (we still had senior prom to take that award), and I had myself convinced that we would soon be together.

Before the next dance, I asked her to go with me. I don't remember what happened. Either I'm repressing it or it was so dull that I just forgot. So we can move forward. Life continued but my attraction to her held strong for at least my Sixth Grade year. Love is, as they say, fleeting, though.

I soon began to expand my social circle, and slowly stopped writing her name in my notebooks. We didn't have any classes together -- I was in the Art Fag Magnet program and she the Math Geek Magnet program -- so I suppose that "out of sight out of mind" bears some relevance, even in True Love. I stopped looking for her in the halls as I moved from class to class and at assemblies, where I knew that I could see her because the whole class was forced to attend. At one point I dated one of the "hot" girls in my class. I got yelled at for holding hands during science class. I met a girl who I would date in High School and I met my first girlfriend and I bought her a rose on Valentine's Day and I forgot about Cassie.

But even though I can't remember her last name, or what she looked like, or why I thought we should spend our lives together, I do still think that I remember what it felt like to dance with her for the first time, and how it felt when the dance was over and you knew that it was time to go home. The lights come on, and then it's just a cafeteria again. So this is my Anti-Valentine to Cassandra. I hope you're doing well.

Monday, February 13, 2006

For a full eighteen hours, a great mist of white fell from the sky and gathered on the ground around the cars and the dogs and the windowpanes. Slowly, the great, beautiful blanket of white turned brown and yellow and watery and then I had to walk through it to get to work this morning. Fortunately, a number of positive aspects accompanied the sludge-wading. I dressed a little down, so I didn't have to do much ironing. I now have both waterproof work pants and shoes (although it may be a bit of a stretch call Doc Martins "work shoes"), so the wading wasn't so bad. My boss didn't show up so I haven't done any work today. And I just found out (literally, while I was writing!) that we are leaving at 3:30. Have a nice afternoon, everybody. I'll be at the end of the bar.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I should have known better, but it being 7:45 in the morning, my reflexes were not in top condition to be making spur of the moment decisions, especially given the fact that I have a fairly set-in-stone morning routine: When I disembark from the R train at 36th Street, I move towards the center of the platform. The ends are skinny and you are more likely to bump into people. Added to that, the MTA always tells you (albeit the fact that it's nearly eight in the morning and quite safe) to ride towards the middle of the train. So I, as I do every morning, moved up to the pillar by the map where I know the doors open for my transfer to the D, put in my headphones, and started off the morning quietly with a little bit of Whiskeytown. Fate, chance nor the Gods could save me from the hell that I entered by following the exact same path that I follow every other morning of the week.

I should have questioned why, when the D train pulled into the station, people shuffled out of the car en masse. I also should have questioned why there were plenty of seats available on the express train in the middle of rush hour. But instead I took it as a blessing. Trying to keep myself standing upright on the notoriously jolty (but oh-so quick) D train when I've barely been awake for forty five minutes is a daunting task, and the empty seat awaiting me was a gift from the transit gods for me giving my seat to old ladies with lots of bags whenever I notice them standing precariously holding on the pole. Transit karma.

After the car emptied out I took my seat and noticed the girl in front of me making a face that I couldn't quite decipher. One of the guys to my right had his scarf on, wrapped around the lower half of his face. And I slowly noticed a smell not quite unlike canned peaches. But quite enough unlike canned peaches to wonder if someone hadn't possibly thrown up a can of canned peaches in the corner, and that the thrown-up peaches were canned circa 1952. My eyes drifted to the stream of people moving towards my half of the car and I noticed a homeless man in the corner of the car, probably asleep, and clearly oblivious to the disturbance that he was causing.

This, friends, was no ordinary homeless man. The smell of this man slowly assaulted the nostrils, starting off sickly sweet, and climaxing into an olfactory roundhouse kick that could make Jean-Claude Van Damme weep. The simple fact that one man could create such a smell to fill roughly 10,000 square feet of air was mindboggling. The realization that I chose the wrong car took approximately as long as it took me to take a seat and for the doors to close; And upon hearing the familiar double-bell, every one of us in the car knew that we had sealed our fate. On this day we were chosen to display the heroic endurance needed to survive an early morning commute into New York City from the depths of Brooklyn.

To sustain, I breathed through my mouth. I turned up the iPod. And I turned off Whiskeytown in favor of M.I.A., lest my torturous experience lead to any lingering ill will towards Ryan Adams (M.I.A. is immune to this, you see). As we moved towards Pacific, I questioned the stability of my stomach since I'd already had a Coke prior to boarding the train. As we moved towards the next station, a new, terrifying decision materialized: Which one is worse? Staying in the car of certain doom and keeping my seat (even the seat beside me was empty!) or standing all the way into Manhattan?

I'll confess that my decision was made easier when most of my fellow riders stayed steadfast as the doors opened. A bond of strength between us had been cast. We were almost soulmates on our journey. We had endured ten minutes together, and we weren't going anywhere. The smell was slightly more bearable, and I was able to begin breathing through my nose like normal. As the people on the platform began to board the train, got one foot in the car and turned around, I thought to myself, "we are stronger than you. Go back to Park Slope. Take a car service to work. Turn around, for you are too weak to ride on the subways." And they turned around. A few people joined us, but all of us except a cowardly elderly man stayed strong and true. A pair of young African American ladies sat adjacent to me and joked about the situation, with lifted my melancholia, and sprayed some sort of parfum, which lifted everyone's melancholia. And as we emerged above-ground to lumber across the Brooklyn Bridge, a sense of pride and accomplishment overtook me, and I knew that it would turn out to be a grand day.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

This is what happens when we let normal people use the internet. If that doesn't make you long for the sweet release of death, you've got more courage than I.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thoughts on last night:

  • Enjoyed the fact that it sounded like a frat party in there as soon as Alito walked in. Probably because every Republican in there was in a fraternity in college. Although I was curious as to why Bush pretty much ignored him in not only the initial walk-through-shake-hands, but also the one at the end. Is there a political strategy for distancing yourself from the judge that you just installed?

  • I thought it was really tacky that they sat Laura Bush between an arab woman and a black guy. I mean, can you imagine the conversation that took place while they were discussing the box arrangements?

    Advisor 1: Let's put a Filipino midget on her right, and a Tasmanian with Down's on her left.

    Advisor 2: No way, the Tasmanian's will be offended by Bush's advocation of Bugs Bunny cartoons.

    Advisor 3: Sir! Bad news. The flight that the Filipino midget was on was delayed. She won't be here on time.

    Advisor 1: Well damn! We'll just have go with an arab woman with a unibrow and a fat black guy.

  • Bush started out a little too flag-wavy. I wish he would cut the shit, especially when his ratings have no where to go but up, he's got two years until an election, and the Democrats don't have a leg to stand on in November when the house seats are up anyway.

  • Who is stealing embryos to make human-animal hybrids? Since when are Roche or Glaxo the fucking Island of Doctor Moreau? At least I've got a liger in my basement to protect me from the Peopleogs (people+dogs).

  • Speaking of Welles (I know they are spelled different), did you see that fat Rep. who had his belt on all sideways like the supergay "pop-and-lock" dance teacher from MTV circa 2002? High-larious.

  • The part where he mentioned the Social Security measures that didn't get through last year, and all the Democrats applauded? That was even tackier than Laura Bush's seating arrangement. I mean, what the fuck. I've read some people who said that it threw him off, but I think he did it on purpose. Because the next line he sat them all right back down. Something about putting aside political differences for the greater good. If the Democrats didn't embarass themselves enough, he did it for them. Oh, and the Republican's booing was pretty stupid, too. They'd have looked better if they let it slide. Unless they we actually saying "Boo-urns."

  • All that crap about morality and how few abortions we have should have been left out. I know it's a Repbulican talking point, but it's still a stupid, stupid part of the platform and they should shut the hell up about morality. Whatever happened to Republican's wanting smaller government and more personal freedoms? If I can make my mind up about buying a gun, I can make my mind up about my family planning, too. I mean, bloody hell. At least make it a state's rights issue instead of legislating my (well, not so much my) personal life from the federal level. Jesus. Some (starts with a "P" and ends with a "at Robertson and the Christian Coalition") people will never learn.

  • Tim Kaine seriously needs to get that eyebrow looked at by a specialist. Also, Mr. Kaine, who's your fucking speechwriter? Ron Popeil? I expected you to have the audience say "There is a better way!" after the first couple of times. Seriously, I don't remember the point of your speech. Something about a better way?

  • Finally, who was that girl in the thick glasses who was hanging out behind Louise Slaughter on CSPAN? You know you saw her! She was smoking! I couldn't listen to a word Slaughter said, I just kept yelling at the TV for her to move her big fat head. Then she came back for a second behind Arlen Specter, but we never saw her again. If you read this, call me.