Tuesday, November 29, 2005

the new bike

Dad called tonight, to tell me that Gramps is through the procedure.

"They put two stents in through his leg and his groin. Can you believe they thread tiny pieces of metal through your grandfather's beat-up arteries, all the way from his ankle to his heart?"

"I read an article about stents today. Bypass specialists everywhere are worried about the technology. It's supposed to be a billion-dollar market in 5 years."

"Your grandfather is okay; he's still in the hospital, but they moved him out of the ICU."

"Yes, I'm glad to hear that. Thank you for calling me and telling me that."

"You should call him."

"Ok, I'll do that soon. Let me know when he's home and I'll call him."

"Well, son, how's your bike?"

"It's pretty good! The seat gel has dried up a bit, so it's like sitting on a rock and pedaling. I'll probably get a new saddle before long, but right now my main concern is replacing the handlebar stem. The one that's on there is too long, and doesn't rise at all. With such a long crossbar I can't reach the handlebars comfortably, and the seat's not as high up as I'd like. The drivetrain and shifters are top-notch, though, and the thing pedals like a dream. The chain's a bit rusty, so I'll probably have that replaced when I get around to having it tuned."

"I just paid two hundred dollars to have it tuned."

"Two hundred bucks??? Well, they didn't replace the chain, the grips they installed are crap, and the front rim needs to be trued. The brakes are terrible, but they'll serve for a while. And about half the hosing needs to be replaced."

"That's an eight hundred dollar bike, you know. Worth every penny when I bought it."

"You got it from Costco, dad. And you never rode it. And you wouldn't let me ride it."

"They have top of the line bikes there. And you're riding it now, aren't you?"

"Costco sells bulk, dad. My Giant was a nicer bike and cheaper, too."

"I knew a guy who built his own bikes. In fact, he did pretty well building bikes, if I recall. I think he turned it into a nice little business."

"Right on. I wish I could do that."

"Yeah, his name's Doc. He decided he wanted to be a woman shortly after I met him."


"Went through the hormone treatment, surgeries, everything. He used to be this male Adonis, blonde hair, blue eyes, 6-6, everything. A guy. Now he's, well, gorgeous."

"Shouldn't you refer to Doc as 'she'? You know, now that she's had all that done to her, gone through it all and everything?"

"Well, I knew him initially as a 'he' and it's hard for me to just switch over."

"Isn't it a matter of respect? Like, this person needed to change their life in a drastic and difficult way to be happy, so shouldn't you respect their happiness at least and refer to them the way they want to be referred?"

"Oh, I can't respect him. He left a wife and two kids to do this. Just left 'em like that. I can't respect anyone who does that to their family. Anyway, I've had personal experiences with transvestites, so this isn't some preconditioned response."

"But still--"

"Look, I went out with a guy--this transvestite--and I didn't know she was a he until we were into some heavy petting. I freaked out. You don't do that to someone, fool them like that. So I don't like homosexuals and I don't like transvestites and if I don't want to deal with them then I'm not gonna do it. They can go live and I'm not saying anything bad, but I've had my bad experiences and I don't have to respect Doc's decision."

Sweat trails a thin line of irony from my ear to the end of my chin, and drips off onto the floor. I don't say anything.

"Anyway, he used to make bikes, but he apparently decided to go full-bore with this whole life change thing and he quit the bike business. But he got pretty wealthy building them while he was doing that."

I still don't know what to say.

"So you're gonna call grandpa soon, right? And wouldya do me a favor and call your two sisters to tell them the news. I have your number memorized, son, but theirs I don't know, and I'm driving so I can't get my book out."

"Yeah, dad, I'll call 'em."

"I still don't know what's wrong with the plasma, did you mess it up more when you were looking at it on Thanksgiving?"

"No, dad."

"The good news is I might make it through this winter. I just paid three thousand bucks to the credit cards, personal cards, and this child support thing is almost off my shoulders. Things are going to be tight this Christmas; good thing I've got you taken care of with the bike and your sister with her engine. It's just your other sister I'm worried about. Do you know what she wants?"

No mention of the woman's kitchen, and no bother mentioning the fact that he'll probably buy himself a new television before January.

"No, dad. I can't afford to participate in Christmas this year, so I haven't asked anyone what they want."

Pointed silence while I don't ask my father what he wants for Christmas.

"All right, son. Well enjoy that bike. Call your sisters."

"Let me know when grandpa gets out of the hospital."

"I will, son. You should call your grandparents."

"Ok, dad. I have to go finish my dishes--this is the first time I've done them in six weeks."

"How long?!"

"Thanks for letting me know about grandpa. Love you, dad."

"All right. Love you too, son."

Currently Listening:
By The Black Keys

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

What does it mean when whiskey tastes like the holidays?

Currently Listening:
Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey
By Savath & Savalas

Saturday, November 19, 2005

"young man,

thy words are like the cypress, tall and large, but they bear no fruit."

history smacks me down again. damn you, Phocion!

but the pictures, bitch...my pictures fucking rule are pleasing to the eye:

Currently Listening:
By Self

Friday, November 18, 2005

O sole mio!

why give reasons?

does reason demand an excuse? (and, does nothing need a reason to exist?)

can one reason irrationality?
for example, if you were standing in line at the grocery checkout and the person behind you started barking loudly, could you ask them why they were doing it and expect a satisfying answer?

what if you turned around and were, like, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, buddy? and then they gave you a good reason for barking out of the blue? is irrationality context-dependent? or, in the right light can any irrationality be construed as rational? does applying rationality (asking why) to an irrational act automatically assume reason?

or vice-versa?--can any rational action be considered absurd?

or are there other perspectives, outside of ir/rationality? is there something other than sense to be made or left unmade? how does emotion factor into rationality & reason (and their respective opposites)?


Currently Listening:
Cats & Kittens
By de novo dahl

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Tom Cruise is potentially a monster factory.

You'll notice in this picture of Tom

that his incisors are all fucked up--the man only has 3 of them. According to this, Tom's condition is an indicator that he might carry a genetic disease that results in dead cyclops children. (he almost never flashed the pearlies when he was younger; his condition has been repaired with extensive cosmetic manipulation)

Oddly, Nicole Kidman miscarried right after Cruise divorced her. I wonder what kind of monster is gonna come out of Katie?

Currently Listening:
The Slickness
By Prince Po

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I can see you.

My hit counter logs your latitude and longitude. Google Earth finds latitude and longitude to a precise resolution. Put these two fun little tools together, and I know where you live.

Scary, huh?

Currently Listening:
Broken Social Scene
By Broken Social Scene

A man becomes aware.

He believes he is dreaming. In his dream, he's naked and wandering around his apartment complex in the predawn light. He knows he should be back in his bed, snuggled in, where all his dreams occur. He walks to his door and tries it: locked. Well, if it's a dream, he should try something else, like walking through a wall or transporting to his bedroom.

Then again, why does he need to be in bed to dream? "Don't most of my dreams take place in crazy places and NOT my bedroom?" he thinks. The possibility dawns on him like the fiery sun creeping over the horizon that he might not be asleep. He might not be dreaming. He might really be walking around his apartment complex naked. He tries his door again. Still locked.

He begins to panic.

Later on, after getting back into his apartment (no outsiders necessary; he slit the window screen) he asks an online community why this would have happened. He admits taking a sleeping pill that may cause hallucinations and odd sleep patterns, and that he's stressed out and possibly depressed. The community quickly says back "YOU'RE TAKING A SLEEPING PILL THAT MAY CAUSE HALLUCINATIONS AND ODD SLEEP PATTERNS!!! Please see your doctor and we hope you're OK."

The next day, this man posts a link to a website on his community site for discussion. Appended to the post is an empty link--HTML that seems to go nowhere, and do nothing--consisting of an ellipses (...). He concurrently posts a "callout" of his post in another area of the community website, and assures everyone that he'll explain the empty link tag and everything, but he has to sleep right then.

The community is torn between ridiculing this man for his odd posting habits (self-callout, empty links, posting a basically empty thread, etc), excitedly speculating what the naked sleepwalker could be up to, and pitying him for his well-documented problems.

Two days later the callout thread is closed by site administration.

The day after that, another user of the online community posts a link to the sleepwalker's explanation of his empty ellipses. It's long, and interesting: he proposes a nifty trick to track the recent posts of users that incorporate similar code into their posts.

The community cries out that it's a dumn idea! WTF! All this nakedness and no pony!

...the ending needs some work.

Currently Listening:
Uneasy Listening Vol. 1
By DJ Z-Trip & DJ P

Sunday, November 06, 2005

forget the implications

Ralph scuffed his shoe on the sidewalk, spat. Took you long enough, asshole. You said nine.

The guy sidling up to him outside the bar glanced up sharply, taken aback for an instant before his timid good looks re-presented on his face. He made to smack Ralph across the face. Shut the fuck up, dickwad. Suck on your little cigarette so we can go in. C'mon.

They embraced.

The bar was one of those chain places usually geared towards the college set. Before the lively decor and jaunty jukebox even had a chance to scuff up and get comfortable, the place was abandoned to a menacing crowd of lonely old drunks. It'd been an old gentlemen's club ten years ago. The non-smoking policy brought in with the chain name added a grumpy tone to the holdover clientele and regularly fostered a lively specacle just outside the doors. If you hit this bar up at the right time in 1998, like Ralph did, you came down with fifteen or twenty spare ashtrays for your home. Ralph had been going there since the club days, and had a hard time giving up his smokes at his bar. His mood outdoors was sharp and acidic with the rush of nicotine and night air. As if he needed more ashtrays.

He dropped the cig and they walked into a small, lowlit room through glass doors. They checked their coats and slapped away the saloonish swinging vest, entering the bar proper. Howya been, Mark? Still seeing that one girl, stole you away from me?

Mark followed Ralph across the room and sat down at the bar. Heads might have turned, over in the flickery booths and at the tiny cocktail tables. But probably not. I been alright, Ralphie. And I haven't seen that bitch since November. Actually, that's kinda why I called you up. Been to any weddings lately?

What? You're shitting me.

Naw, this gal's incredible.

You've been had, my friend. I can tell already. She may be great, but solitary confinement's a bitch. I thought you knew that?

I thought I knew that, too. But Nancy's something special.

Yeah, special. Right. Ralph picked up his drink as soon as the bartender set it down. So what? You want me to be in the wedding or something?

Fuck no! Think I'd let a prick like you within a ten mile radius of Nancy on her wedding day?

Fair enough. But, c'mon. Just one more, and I won't take any away from you ever again. Promise.

No way. She's mine. You can come if you want, I guess, but you have to wear the straightjacket and a mouthful of tongue depressors.

Damn! You know they think I'm fine in my strappy whites. Nancy, she'll...drifting off in wonderment, Ralph imagining and shaking his head.

Mark hunched over and shifted his stool a bit. The scraping of wood on wood piqued more ears than their arrival. Booths seemed to shrink inward towards their tables, the mason jar candles around the room eclipsed now by straining ears. What about you? Anyone you wanna bring?

Well, I been seeing this bird lately, but I don't think she'd do me well at a wedding. She's crazy enough as it is.

Crazy like what?

Fuckin' hard to get bullshit.

Sweet cheebus, Ralphie. She's pulling the hard to get bit out for you?

Ralph grunted, chomped on a piece of ice. Fuck off.

Of all people, who'd think you were worth the time? Smirking between the words.

Hey, look, I get it. I said fuck off.

Heh. She's playin you hard to get...And you're the one's been had. What?

Mark couldn't help flinching Ralph's head snapped up so fast. Fuck you. Ralph's stool tipped as he pushed back from the bar, clunking back and forth on pairs of legs. He was already fumbling for a smoke, shouldering out through the lobby and into the night.

Currently Listening:
By Wilco

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fall MefiSwap [mix four]

November 2005
1. M. Ward - Duet For Guitars #2
2. Josh Ritter - Tonight You Belong To Me
3. Matt Sweeny & Bonny 'Prince' Billy - Lift Us Up
4. Nick & The Jaguars - Ich-I-Bon #1
5. Arizona Amp & Alternator - AAAA(4)
6. Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything
7. Carl Henry Brueggen - Teen Jackpot
8. Sam Prekop - C + F
9. The Minders - Jealous Baby
10. Black Dice - ABA
11. The Go! Team - Hold Yr Terror Close
12. Erlend Oye - Every Party
13. Lil' Pocketknife - Disco Dancer
14. DangerDoom - Benzie Box (feat. Cee-Lo)
15. Mastodon - Blood & Thunder
16. One Be Lo - Axis
17. Yesterday's New Quintet - The Funky Side Of Life
18. Kid Koala - Roboshuffle
19. Prefuse 73 - Pagina Dos (feat. The Books)
20. The Bees - Chicken Payback
21. Boom Bip - Newlyweds

This is one of the longer mixes I've ever assembled, both in terms of # of tracks and actual playing time (1.4 hours). I broke a few of my rules putting it together--mainly because I have a specific audience in mind that wouldn't have heard/seen previous mixes. For instance, I usually try to keep my mixes distinct from one another, and this one shares a couple of tracks with some of the previous mixes I've posted here. Also, I believe I double up one of the producers (Prefuse 73), which is usually a no-no.

I am proud of the coherent structure, but sad to say that it encompasses no real storyline. I like the flow of the mix; It begins with a nice instrumental introduction followed by an incantation of sorts from Josh Ritter, Matt Sweeny, and Bonny 'Prince' Billy. The set really kicks off with a sweet (electric) guitar instrumental from Nick & the Jaguars. Local flavor from Howe Gelb off of his latest incarnation builds a great head of country/rock steam into the insanely catchy "indie rock" of Wolf Parade.

Another break follows; a nice bossa/samba track from Carl Henry Brueggen--who knew that Mount Shasta could actually make nice-sounding music? Sam Prekop picks up the pieces that Howe & the Wolves shattered, and hands them over to The Minders to slowly put back together. Black dice interlude once again, segueing nicely into the centerpiece, The Go! Team's surprising little ditty.

From there, the reformulated mix takes a bit of a harder edge. Try to not dance to Erlend Oye's collab with Scott Herren (there's the production repeat) or Lil' Pocketknife's profane insistence or Danger Mouse's fuzzy rhythm. The gears shift one higher in a surprising move from hip hop to metal. Mastodon's take on Ahab and the White Whale is excellent, a nice high-energy twist right in the middle of the mix's second wind.

One Be Lo raps about stuff that makes sense but that I have no right putting on my mix, being white, suburban, and not hard in the least. Still, he's got sick flow and something to say. Madlib takes the reins from there, jazzing up the set before Kid Koala scratches it all up.

From Roboshuffle on it's a jaunty kick in the pants to end the mix. Scott Herren makes another appearance under the Prefuse 73 guise, and The Bees (known in the states as A Band of Bees) come out of left field to get you moving one last time. Chicken Payback is that post-orgasmic spasm before you fall asleep, to Boom Bip's funky fade-out.

Friday, November 04, 2005

kelly kapowski

someone please disabuse me of the idea that that's actually Tiffany Amber-Thiessen. (I'm already convinced the other one's not Chynna Phillips, don't worry.)

Currently Listening:
The Lemon of Pink
By The Books

yeah, things changed

some choice memories:

1. middle of nowhere. we drove into the desert at 50mph for about an hour. cars passed us the other way, turned around and followed us. people congregating on nothing. cattleguards were crossed, miles of dirt road to a sandy, winding driveway/road packed with cars. we saw tiki torches and heard music.

2. the large bus at the driveway terminus raved, generated. over a slight rise the underbrush gave way to a cow pond. the fire pit and trippy projection screen rimmed the pond to the right. left was tents, food, drink, music, milling. pungencies fought for airspace everywhere.

3. after cajoling and teasing and head-faking the rave bus was braved. the two little girls posted outside followed us in, claimed a plywood platform, and danced the night away.

4. the firepit drummers beat damning dynamics. evident desire of the blonde to instigate, alter, and influence the rhythm pounded out amid a chorus of hearts via hands.

5. Rat Dog's Grateful Dead punctuated by visits from Josh, an impromptu apple pipe, Johnny on drums, then blown out of the water by the fire-eaters.

6. on the far side of the cowpond they twisted, twirled, hula'ed, swooped, and swallowed the flames.

7. mints as gifts. pockets of meat. cold, good beer. anonymous cups handed around, gulped from, and placed neatly in the designated areas.

8. Gates Pass, nearing 4am, bleary-eyed, crammed in a stick-shift truck. sick fear floating on a sea of bile we circled, climbed out, and plunged back into the city.

Currently Listening:
Arizona Amp & Alternator
By Arizona Amp & Alternator

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

my take on dating girls

prepare thyself, my family, my friends, my acquaintences, others.


if you had a bucket of snakes, and a stick, and if you were to poke those snakes with that stick, that's how I contextualize dating females. it is a fascinating enterprise, with surprising results.

please note that this is only a generalization of the issue, simply an exercise to explain through illustration a typical situation. perhaps a good dating experience illustration would include Samuel L. Jackson yelling at you while you're poking snakes with a stick (YOU ONE BADASS MUTHAFUCKA!!!). perhaps a bad dating experience illustration would incorporate a plane. that is, in that particularly bad case, dating girls is like poking snakes on a plane.

Currently Listening:
By Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Matthew Sweeney

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

things will change

wow. I feel like I could write about fifty different posts under this heading.

anyway, the one for tonight is that dubya (of all people) invited me to a party in the desert. can you believe that in 24 years as a Tucsonan, I've never partied in the SNM? I've tripped to the woods, and near the ocean, and indoors, and on my patio, but tonight might just be my first time to this blessed, God-awful desert.

the boyfriend* is covering the event for his upstart newspaper. I'll be handing out quipped wisdom and maybe some kush all night long. wanna come? I don't know where it is.

*I may be an ambiguously gay superhero, but he's not my boyfriend.

Currently Listening:
Cul-de-sacs & Dead Ends
By The Minders