Jul 8 2010

eff. this.

Firefox can lick my balls.  I had a great post all set to go – all I needed to do was add one last link – when my browser decided to crash upon opening a new window.  It’s like I’m working on a goddamn Mac.

My mind is a steel trap, so I suppose I’ll be able to re-create at some point most of my biting and insightful humor.  (My Lebron James joke, though, will be far less timely for obvious reasons.)  But I just don’t feel like doing it now.  I’d rather punish you all.  Choke on this.  The cuteness, it burns!!  LOLZ!!!!  ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙁
[IRONIC UPDATE: Happy birthday, asshole.]

Oct 2 2009

keeping folks waiting since 1989

The Wrens are living proof that this is not a just world.  Most people, even among the most indie of indie-rock fans, have never heard of them.  Their last album – The Meadowlands, which is nearly perfect – was released seven years ago.  The youngest member of the band just turned forty.  I was going to try to recap the trials and tribulations of their past two decades, but there's no way I can top the band's own words.

  • The wrens get a call in 1989 off their first demo asking if they want to open for comeback band – The Fixx.
    The catch is that they must sell 1000 tickets.  The wrens fail to sell
    even 6 tickets and sadly, the Fixx cancel. The ‘80s draw to a close.
  • The wrens get a gig as the house band on the on Cape May/Delaware
    Ferry. The wrens later get fired after performing the Pixies’ “debaser”
    to the mostly senior citizen crowd.
  • The wrens move to a house in Secaucus, NJ. (The wrens will continue to live together and record at home for the next 10 years)
  • The wrens make their first 7”, Low (1993), and send a copy
    to Camille Sciara at Grass records/Dutch East India. She offers a deal
    over the phone, faxes a contract and they are signed in one day –
    becoming label mates and friends with Brainiac, Toadies and others….
  • The wrens issue first full length, Silver (1994), to surprising and wonderful critical acclaim.
  • The wrens’ first tour’s first show is in Omaha, Nebraska playing
    to an overwhelming five-person crowd that includes Robb, Conor, and
    Todd of the as-yet-unfounded Saddle Creek label/scene (Conor and Todd
    of Bright Eyes and the Faint respectively). The wrens and the creek
    become friends, and over the next few years play many shows together,
    have many sleepovers, and later issue a split 7" w/ Park Ave on their Saddle Creek label.
  • Wrens continue to tour domestically & in Europe through 1995 and begin work on follow-up lp.
  • Grass records is bought from Dutch East India by Alan Melzter, to
    acquire the wrens – inexplicably now the label’s flagship band. The
    wrens release their second full length, Secaucus (1996), for Meltzer’s revamped Grass to even more (equally inexplicable) wonderful critical review.
  • Halfway into first tour supporting Secaucus, the wrens are told that if they do not sign their new fairly-high-dollar recording contract, all promotion for Secaucus
    will be stopped. The wrens, frowning on strong-arm tactics, do not
    re-sign and as promised, all promotion (including support for a pending
    tour of Europe with Brainiac) is pulled. The head of the record
    company, infuriated, commences layoffs of involved record company
    personnel and vows that “the next band to walk through that door will
    be made famous – at any cost”. The next band through the door is Creed.
    Grass Records becomes Wind Up Records. Creed becomes famous at any cost.
  • The Wrens ditch their really-way-too-big new york law firm
    representation and spend second half of 1996 and most of 1997 in
    hilarious courtship ritual with various labels through new attorney.
  • In the meantime, the wrens release an ep, Abbott 1135
    (1997) for Camille’s new label, Ten 23, and more critical riches
    follow. The wren’s music is used in several MTV programs, some
    independent films and a handful of compilation cd’s. And in 1998, they
    are asked to perform opening night of 1998 World’s Fair, EXPO ‘98, in
    Lisbon, Portugal.
  • 1998: Interscope Records A&R on hearing the Abbott 1135
    ep, continues hilarious courtship ritual. Sadly, A&R gets laid off
    in ugly corporate merger before signing the wrens. Happily though,
    A&R later emerges at competitor label and signs the strokes.
  • 1999: The wrens go into hiding to write/ record next record for
    friends, richard & stephanie reines’ Drive Thru Records. In 2000,
    Drive Thru cements distribution & money deal with MCA.
  • Spring 2002: the wrens emerge with a new full length, the Meadowlands.  And wary of more involvement with another major, happily decide to release the Meadowlands in a partnership with good friend, Cory Brown’s Absolutely Kosher Records in the Spring of 2003.
  • July 2002: the wrens throw drunken hoe-down to celebrate final completion of the Meadowlands. Party highlights include erasure of all Meadowlands multi-track master tapes.
  • Fall 2002: wrens update bio…

That's, admittedly, kind of a lot to wade through.  Fortunately for us, they also wrote their autobiography in the form of a rock song.

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Sep 25 2009

leaving las vegas

So I’ve got to go to this bullshit bachelor party this weekend.  I’m not thrilled about it.  It’s enough of an imposition on my valuable free time just to go to the wedding, now I’ve got to give up an entire weekend for the goddamn bachelor party?  (Yeah, it’s in Las Vegas.  Like that’s not a huge cliché….)  And what’s more, the bulk of the festivities are planned for Sunday, which means I have to use a vacation day to take time off work.  Swell.  Strip clubs kind of skeeve me out.  Firearms – machine guns, especially – really skeeve me out.  I don’t gamble.  This should be a fun time.  But at least it’s going really expensive, so I’ve got that going for me.  I pretty much only agreed to go because I thought it would be fun to hang out with Ydnar, who I almost never get to see any more, for the weekend.  Well, he bailed at the last minute.  He’s no fool; that’s what I should have done.  Ugh.  What a drag.  At least there will be booze.  I think I’m going to have to turn this trip into a proper bender just to make it tolerable.  I’m a prickly pear!  Anyway, see yinz all again on Tuesday.  Try to have a better weekend than me.  Shouldn’t be tough….

Sep 17 2009

matt and kim hate you

I don’t know what I was thinking.  I let Dabysan talk me into going to see this band Matt and Kim at the Black Cat tonight.  Matt and Kim, to refresh your memory, are the band that Daby discovered from a Bacardi commercial.  And while I don’t necessarily object on principle to bands selling their songs, I probably should have been a little more wary in this case.  This was one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen.  Matt and Kim were bad – Kings of Leon bad, Counting Crows bad, New Pornographers bad.  In fact, the New Pornographers are a pretty good point of reference because Matt and Kim sucked in the exact opposite way.

The problem with the New Pornographers’ show was that every member of the band was an accomplished musician who couldn’t be bothered to care about playing their music in the live performance.  I will say this for Matt and Kim: at no time did it occur to me that they were phoning it in.  It just would have been nice if they had bothered to learn how to play their instruments.  They’re literally the least talented band I have ever seen headlining a show.  Here’s how every single Matt and Kim song goes.  Kim bangs out a rudimentary 4/4 time beat (only on the quarter note, natch) while Matt noodles Hot Cross Buns melodies on a Casio.  Sometimes, he barks out profound lyrics like “Yeah!  Yeah!  Yeah!”  The rest of the time he doesn’t sing anything at all.  They don’t play anything that you couldn’t train a chimp to play, but at least the songs are short.

I’ll admit I initially cracked a smile when they launched into a “cover” of Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” but ultimately this song pissed me off more than any other.  It was post-ironic hipsterism at its worst.  They played only the intro riff (over and over) and sang no lyrics.  It lasted sixty seconds, at best.  It was a song fragment and I’m supposed to nod and wink knowingly because the original is so hopelessly uncool.  Or maybe because I, too, have watched Arrested Development.  I’m not entirely sure.  What I am sure of, however, is that their failure to even attempt to play the song is more than just lazy, it’s insulting.  Matt and Kim stood on the stage of the Black Cat for about an hour and told me with every pedestrian note that developing some level of competence with their instruments beyond that required to win the third-grade talent show was something with which they couldn’t be bothered.  I’ve never seen a band with more contempt for its audience.  Actually, now that I think more about it, they’re not the opposite of the New Pornographers at all.

Aug 3 2009

trying to hold steady

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how this was going to be my year.  "Summer of Hotrod," I called it.  At the time I was channeling Bill Ramsey – he of Ramsey Cup fame – and his infamous "Summer of Bill" back in aught-one.  But Bill's constructive summer was inspired by Seinfeld and the "Summer of George."  It occurred to me today just how appropriate the source material really is.

If yinz will recall, during his eponymous summer George takes on the position of Jerry's relationship intern.  Jerry asks him to mail some invitations to a party on his girlfriend's behalf, but George slips on one of them after an afternoon of frisbee golf.  His legs sustain severe trauma and he spends the rest of the summer in rehabilitation.

And as I prepare for another visit to the physical therapist tomorrow morning, I'm appreciating the irony.  I'm open to anything that might convince me to stay positive.  This injury has been getting me down.  It's been a long time since I've been hurt this bad.  (Physically, at least.)  I'm ready to be healthy so I can get back to being depressed about everything else in my miserable life.

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Jul 28 2009

rising from the ashes

I won't lie – I'm still pretty down today about this injury and having to give up on the Marine Corps Marathon.  I've been trying to talk myself into the Disney marathon all day, but it's tough going.  Mainly because I'm not eight years old and going to Disney World doesn't thrill me all that much.  In the hopes of perking myself up, I checked out the Team In Training website to see if there were any other options for my local chapter.  As luck would have it, the Rock and Roll Marathon in Phoenix is just a week later.  And I like rock and roll a whole lot more than I like Disney.

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Jul 27 2009

zero miles

Well, that was short-lived….

I had an appointment with an orthopedist/physical therapist this morning.  She spent two hours poking and prodding every square inch of my right leg below the knee and I spent two hours wincing and grimacing and trying not to cry like a little girl.  Her diagnosis was that I have a high ankle sprain or a stress fracture, and probably a stress fracture because that’s all she talked about for the last forty minutes.  There’s really no way to know for sure without an MRI (stress fractures often don’t show up on x-rays) but really it’s moot at this point.  In either case, I’m not going to be able to run for at least four to six more weeks.  So no Marine Corps Marathon.

I’m pretty bummed.  Not only am I going to miss the Marine Corps, but I’ll also have to give up on the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach that I was going to run with Daby and CarrieNation and Emma and a few other people.  I joked a lot in the month leading up to the start of training about not following through, but this was something I really did want to do.  What gets me the most is the timing of my injury.  I was just starting to feel good about running again, and I was gaining confidence that I could actually run twenty-six point two miles every time I got out.  That – if anything – is the silver lining.  Signing up for the marathon was a means to an end: I wanted to start running again.  As much as I love being out on the bike – and I think it’s fairly obvious that’s something I enjoy quite a bit – there’s nothing quite like running.  I remember now that I’ve missed it.  It had been a long time, but I missed it.

So now I’m weighing my options.  I can switch over to the next marathon season, which won’t interfere with a cycle event.  The Walt Disney World Marathon is the first week of January.  The training will probably start in September, so – knock wood – I should be healthy.  But that’s an additional $2,000 of fundraising, which doesn’t bother me per se, but will mean I’ll probably have to alter my plans for next year.  I want to do the Tahoe ride in the spring, and we’re adding a ride in Solvang, California for the fall season.  My second century was in Solvang, and I’ve been dying to get back there for four years.  If I do a marathon in January, the fundraising – not to mention the constant training for over a year – will be a bit much.  Plus – and this is no small thing – I’d really been looking forward to a local event and having the support of my friends along the way and at the finish.  The Marine Corps Marathon will be there next year, but there’s much to be said for following through before I lose too much momentum.  I just don’t know.

Man, what a depressing post this turned out to be.  I sincerely apologize to both my readers.  I didn’t mean for it to turn out this way.  I’ll try to make it up to you starting now: Your taste in music is terrible!  Pie is the best and brownies suck!  I’m the best at Scrabble!  Daby and Jodi are stupid!  Hmmm, I think I might just feel a little better.

Jul 22 2009

half a mile

I walked home from the Metro tonight for the first time in over a week, and while that half-mile may not seem like a big deal, it’s the longest I’ve walked at a stretch since my bad decision to hobble to the movies to see robots in the sky on the day I hurt my ankle.  I’d been taking cabs (and occasionally the King Street Trolley) back and forth.  But my leg was feeling much better today, so I thought I’d test it.  It’s more sore now than it has been in a few days, but it’s still not the sharp pain of a week ago.  It’s more of a dull ache.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that I didn’t do something stupid.  More than, you know, usual.

Yesterday, I had a small revelation.  The overall pain had subsided enough that I was able to isolate when my ankle hurt most and (probably) why.  I overpronate when I run – which means my foot leans to the inside more than it should.  I am also slightly splay-footed.  (Or duck-footed, if you prefer.)  So basically what I think had been happening is that my toes were pointed outward at the same time I was running too much on the inside of my feet.  It’s no wonder I felt the pain first on the inside of my ankle.  I’ve dealt with this before, when I ran a lot in college.  In high school I had knee and hip problems (with the same leg).  I had to concentrate on my form while I was running in order to correct it – which I hadn’t been doing since I’d been concentrating so much on just not stopping.

Anyway, I now think this is just a sprain, and that I had been feeling pain further up my shins because, well, everything hurt.  The most important thing is that I now know what causes more pain just getting around and I can avoid it.  I also learned how best to stretch my ankle to ease the pain.  This is obviously a setback, but I haven’t yet given up on the marathon.  I’ve talked to my coaches, and they’re not yet concerned about modifying the training schedule to accommodate my unfortunate layoff.  I hope they’re right.  I mean, B—–e thinks I’m a badass.  I’d hate to let her down.

Jul 16 2009

i’m a crybaby

I got a call from my doctor’s office on my way home from work.  The results of my x-ray finally showed up, and they called to tell me that everything is perfectly fine.  There’s no evidence of swelling, no lesions or contusions or whatever the right terms are, no evidence of any trauma of any kind.  I should be skipping along merrily.  Naturally the woman on the other end of the line was as shocked as could be when I informed her that I was, in fact, still in a great deal of pain.  She even asked if I was sure.

So obviously I’m a big pussy, because my right leg still hurts like a motherfucker.  And I can still barely walk.  Fortunately, I’ll have a pair of crutches tomorrow to help me rest my ankle more thoroughly.  I was supposed to have a pair today, but my co-worker somehow forgot between nine o’clock last night and this morning that she was supposed to bring them in.  I was, naturally, pleased as punch with that little nugget of information.

Sorry.  I’m a little salty today.  I wish I was anxious about a ten mile run this weekend, instead of being anxious about whether or not my window for realistically training for a marathon this year is rapidly closing.  On the upside, I’m not disappointed any more.  Now I’m just pissed off.

Jul 14 2009

bastille day

My doctor is French, and as it turns out I had an appointment already scheduled with him today just when I needed one.  I was supposed to get some blood work done as a follow-up to my last visit, but we spent most of the time talking about my gimpy ankle.  He took a look at it and diagnosed shin splints, which is what I had been expecting.  But since I’ve been a ball of nerves lately, I asked about the possibility of a stress fracture and he sent me to get an x-ray.  On the way out, he mentioned he shouldn’t be working on the fourteenth of July.

The radiologist told me they would send the results of my x-ray to my doctor within forty-eight hours unless there was a fracture, in which case they would send them as soon as possible.  I’m really, really hoping that the fact that I haven’t heard anything yet is good news and not because my doctor decided to take the afternoon off.