Sunday, April 29, 2007

I'm truly disappointed
truly truly truly...

Like a total lameass I didn't buy tickets for the sold-out Paramount Morrissey show May 1st. Got the first pang Friday talking with my friend Miranda, who was on her way to the "Bob Hope Theater" show in Stockton. Then driving home today, I was listening to Viva Hate and Bona Drag. And just like all the cheap old fogeys who have come before me, I rationalized, and thought, "$47.50 (or $85.50, for the good seats...or, one gazillion dollars if you're some opportunistic soulless ticket-selling ass on craigslist) to see Morrissey?! In '91 I saw him for $20 general admission, at the frikken Greek, I'll tell you what! Whatever, I don't need to see that show. I have my precious memories."

I'm so spoiled from seeing excellent bands like Fugazi and The Make Up for less than $10 in spaces where every spot is a good spot, and soloists like Neko Case and David J in small clubs for $15 or $20. And bitch please, I just saw Xiu Xiu -- the most incredible show ever -- for $12. The most I've paid for a ticket in the last 10 years was probably Bauhaus, and that was just $35. It seems $35 has become my limit. I'm a music lover, not a fighter, and I'm all about people getting paid, but a little slack on the ticket prices is in order!

So anyway, I know I'm talking myself into nothing with these arbitrary "limits" because just seeing this little nugget (hee!) from the John Ascuaga's *ahem* Celebrity Showroom show in Sparks, NV was enough to make me shake my fist and beat my breast for bunking out on buying tickets. The Boy With the Thorn in His Side! Goo.

when you want to live,
how do you start?
where do you go?
who do you need to know?

Haha, apparently I need to know someone with enough money to NOT balk at a $50 ticket for nosebleed seats.

(BTW, The Bob Hope Theater? John Ascuaga's Nugget? The Paramount? The Moz may or may not be worth $100 after Ticketbastard fees, but he is all old-school class.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

San Francisco Bay peeps! My sweetie-pie will be reading some of his poetry -- new and not so new -- in the next two weekends:

Saturday April 28, 2007
Back Room Readings
McNally’s Irish Pub
5352 College Avenue, Oakland
7 pm

With Trevor Calvert and Beatrix Chan reading poetry, Alicia Bleuer reading prose and Lukas Champagne reading one the other or a bit of both.

Saturday, May 5, 2007
580 Split Release Party
Eli’s Mile High Club
37th Street and Martin Luther King, Oakland
9 pm

Poetry, and the space-age sounds of Modular Set.

Readings at 10pm by

Will Alexander
Trevor Calvert
Jenny Drai
Javier Huerta

We will be selling our issues at a reduced price and
giving away free books to all who attend. Back issues
for sale at extra-reduced prices.


Both events are free to the public, but I know a certain poet who wouldn't say no to a wee bit of Scotch. :)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My hubby’s been obsessing on Eustace Conway, the naturalist and outdoorsman author Elizabeth Gilbert chronicles in her book, The Last American Man. Eustace (love that name) has been living in the Appalachian Mountains since he was 17 years old, living off the land and off the grid.

While I can’t quite move all the way to living in a tipi and skinning deer to make my clothes, I can get on board with the foundation of Eustace’s views on modern living and how that intersects with conservation and living more simply. It’s nothing new, but it is what both Trevor and I have been attempting to internalize more each day: that mindless consumerism and overconsumption is a sickness -- a plague -- in society. I think it's sad that we have to remind ourselves that conspicuous consumption is still how humans generally define success, and try not be sucked in.

In recent years, conspicuous consumption has also been viewed as a contributing factor to behavioral disorders such as binge eating and compulsive spending and is a major contributor to personal bankruptcies resulting from abuse and mismanagement of credit

Behavioral disorders. Bankruptcy. And let's face it, a whole host of other problems. But Eustace advocates a very simple way for non-deer-skinning folk to combat this, starting now. This quote from the book is very close to my heart:

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are good ideas…but those three concepts should only be the last resort. What you really need to focus on are two other words that also begin with R -- Reconsider and Refuse. Before you even acquire a disposable good, ask yourself if you need this consumer product. And then turn it down. Refuse it. You can.

(This stuff lends itself to feeling sanctimonious, like its own form of "conspicuous morality." I know. Sorry. But I also think that ends up just being a philisophical distraction. Fuck moral relativism when it comes to the trashing of our planet.)

I love Eustace's two extra Rs. This is personal for me. It is bullshit that there are people who think it's weird that I drive a well-maintained, Cali smog-compliant car from 1986, once or twice a week, and that I can afford to buy or lease a new car, but don't (among other things). I don't need it! And it is so stupid that I still find myself apologizing for having an older car sometimes when I drive people around. WTF!? That's insane! A car is an extreme, but just think about how many small pieces of crap you don’t really need you could rid from your life if you adopt Eustace’s two Rs just a few times a week. Ha, if everyone did this, the hellmouth of useless slave-made crap that is Wal-Mart would be out of business in a month. My heart sings at the thought.

Ah, but of course, we are only human and must pick our battles, no?

On the filthy flipside of the coin, while Trevor is obsessing over Eustace Conway, I have been thinking about Kate Moss for Topshop, out May 1st.

Everything is cute. But I've already Reconsidered, and Refused. I probably have half of that stuff in some form in my closet, could get similar used somewhere, and I usually just wear jeans and tees and a hoodie and Vans anyway. So I’m just looking. Promise.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Look at me
Nothing bad is ever going
to happen to you again
Although you're a solid pile of hate
You're still pretty like a cake
Pulling out a bat at the Kill Me Court
Slaps me that I can't handle you
But yes, no, yes, no, yes,
Tell me how to live!

('Boy Soprano' at Common Grounds in Gainesville, Florida 10.5.2006. Haha, check the Bauhaus logo on Jamie's guitar.)

Okay, as promised, a full report on the beyond incredible Xiu Xiu show at Bottom of the Hill on 4.22.2007. BTW, didn’t get a chance to hit the second show tonight, but that’s okay. Last night was magnificent.

And alright, a little disclaimer for my review: mere words seem inadequate and affected when the show was anything but; however, I’m here to try to make it work!

First though, a quick rundown of our glorious evening leading up to the show. Mentioning this because Trevor planned our pre-show festivities, and he made it one of the most PERFECT evenings I’ve had in a long while. He's the best!

Trevor and I found parking at 6 o’clock at Jones and Geary. Anyone here in the Bay knows that itself is pretty unbelievable. We were two wee blocks from our watering hole of choice to start this evening, Bourbon and Branch.

If you have not been to Bourbon and Branch, you must go. Modeled after a Prohibition speakeasy and housed in a nondescript corner space with an unmarked door and a sign outside advertising “The Anti-Saloon League,” reservations, a password, and decorum are required. I thought it might be a bit pretentious, but I was so wrong. Classy and low-key, B&B gets big points for the low-lighting, linen cocktail napkins, red flocked velvet walls, ability to speak in a soft voice and still be heard, cordial and professional service, and the completely black bathroom with gothic trappings and cloth towels. And the drinks were sublime. I had the Pomegranate Ginger, with lime and Belvedere vodka. Each note of the drink came through crystal, with a zingy ginger finish. My honey had “The Revolver” – Bulliett Bourbon, Tia Maria, and orange bitters. Too sweet for him, he said, but still well-crafted.

After walking around looking for a decent and reasonable place to eat, we ended up at the counter in Bang San Thai for a grand feast of pumpkin and beef curry and Pad Gra Pow. Our bellies filled with scrumptiousity after drinks, we were off to Xiu Xiu.

Yay, parked right in front! The place was packed with greasy kids in skinny jeans, and Jamie Stewart groupies, which was to be expected. But there were also a lot of us over-30s, which was a nice surprise. Also nice was a very attentive, pleasant staff, and seeing our friend from college who we hadn’t seen for 5 or 6 years.

We missed almost all of Katie Eastburn’s set, so no commentary there. But we caught all of Montreal’s Sunset Rubdown. Led by the amazing Spencer Krug on keyboard, their music was full of angsty Smiths-like lyrics and intensity, but with a juxtaposition of jarring guitar and noise, classic piano, and quiet little flourishes like the use of a vibrating and beeping pager (or stopwatch?) on a hi-hat. Good enough to buy the CD.

So, then, Xiu Xiu. They took an immense amount of time to hook up their equipment and soundcheck each piece until it was perfect. Trevor commented facetiously that this could be part of the performance and that we might never know – and they did launch straight into the set without much of a pause after completion. But their music lends itself to complex soundscapes, so there must be meticulous precision involved. It was appreciated.

You ever wonder what it would be like to watch a living breathing blood pumping animal be turned inside-out? Or, more plainly (and less gross), have you ever looked inside your own body when you’ve cut yourself – blood, adipose tissue, meat, bone? The horror and the pain, but the fascination, the thrall, and the beauty too, of what makes us alive? That is Jamie Stewart onstage.

Not to be dramatic, but I’ve heard stories about him. Brilliant, haunted, manic, intense, perfectionist -- but also silly, friendly, and a nice guy. I think it’s probably all true. Watching him perform, it’s like watching a private moment of realization, suffering, or devastation, unfolding like the audience isn’t even there. Both Trevor and I thought, “Ian Curtis” (I can’t believe I said it!) only more heat, less cold.

He’d been having problems with his guitar, and he threw it down and busted its neck after an earth-shattering ‘Boy Soprano’ where I thought he’d have a fit or explode from the effort of creating a near cacophony of violent longing from his usually breathy voice.

Because Xiu Xiu’s music is a symphonic barrage, I was really intrigued to see how they translated that intensity live. That private anguish in all its rawness inside your head I talked about earlier? That seemingly perfectionist sound that at the same time lends itself to improvisation? Now add myriad tiny single tones and notes -- the most singular, small, normally inaudible bit of bell jangle or brush of the drumstick on skins -- transformed into the most complex of sound webs. That is how they did it. Both Caralee McElroy on flute (wow that’s flute in Boy Soprano!), accordion, and samples, and Ches Smith on percussion seemed to play like they were tracking numerous forking paths along a wall of scenic sound.

I was on the far side of the stage away from Caralee, so I didn’t get to watch her too much. But I will never forget Ches Smith’s drumming. Watching him play made me wish I’d taken up drums instead of bass. Like a drumming savant, that man. Completely one with the music, though maybe I’m placing too much on him, and he was thinking about biscuits and gravy or his cat while he was drumming, but damn that shit was complex yet seemingly unstructured and flexible. Easily one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen live.

You must go see this band live if you get the opportunity. Exhilarating and visceral and worth the ticket price just to watch Ches Smith hit the skins. Ches Smith, Trevor and I both want to have your babies.

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I just got back from seeing Xiu Xiu at Bottom of the Hill.

Oh my god.

Best. Show. Ever.

Don't believe me? They have usurped Bauhaus at the Fillmore in 2005 (AKA the show that changed the course of my life) as the best show I have ever seen. I know, honey, believe it.

And funny mentioning Bauhaus: I still loved the 2005 show, but after seeing Xiu Xiu my husband and I both said we now finally understand what the OG fans from Europe who saw Bauhaus back in the day are saying about what is lacking now vs. then. It also especially illuminates to me what is missing from the new songs they rolled out last year.

There's an almost undefinable something in a song or performance that bridges the space between our raw humanity and conveying that in sound. When that deep emotion and excitement and meat and bone, that creative inferno, is what drives you and you give yourself to it, fresh and alive and over and over, it speaks through your chosen instrument, and you get the kind of show we got tonight. It's the cycle of creative spark shelf life, and when you have created monumental work, if you don't have fire anymore, you might not belong on stage except to rehash (which is fine -- wouldn't say no to a Bau-rehashed tour again!). Without spark, you can forget about new material too.

Xiu Xiu not only has that spark, they are the flint, the tinder, the spark, the blaze, and the renewal. Like a phoenix.

I need time to collect my thoughts to give y'all a proper review, because good god, I'm speechless right now. And anyway, I'm seeing Xiu Xiu again tomorrow on the strength of the show tonight.

So for now, just WOW.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Earth Day is Sunday, and the San Francisco Chronicle, like many papers, is running a green section demonstrating ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

What I really like about the spread this year is that they are chronicling some really easy ways for regular folks to reduce their fossil fuel consumption around the house. Saving energy doesn’t have to be difficult, but so often the more urban papers tend to focus on things that are really unreasonable for the majority of America, so naturally some folks just freeze up and change nothing. Approaching greening your life on a scale is a really a nice reminder for people who are already pretty green, and a gentle way to ease people who aren't so green into changes around their home. Big changes, especially related to lifestyle, usually don’t happen overnight.

So, check out your carbon footprint with this test. If you’re unhappy with your score, the Chron also aggregated a bunch of web resources with information about greener living, for everything from gardening to eating out.

A big one from the list that I highly recommend is getting a free gas and electrical audit, as well as a water audit, from your respective utility companies for your home and office. I just did this for my office, and not only do you get a really good idea about how much energy gets wasted in your space and how easy it is to stop it, but they give you free stuff like shower and faucet aerators. I installed them, and guess what? Now we are saving gallons a minute, AND they provide better “spray velocity” than what we were using before! People actually wash their dishes more now instead of leaving them in the sink for some other schlub, because it is easier to clean them. No joke. Everyone loves the aerators at my work. Total score.

Ah, and closely associated with reduction, I read a pretty good article today about the built environment and obesity.

[Former Director of California's Department of Public Health Richard] Jackson says the attempt to create safety and convenience has spawned its own set of problems: "Now we have obesity, diabetes, cancer and joint problems, instead of dysentery. We're richer than before, but things don't feel right. We work harder, we drive farther, we're fatter, we're more depressed. Our lifestyle is making us more unhealthy, and a lot of that is based on our built environment."

Yes, it's true, comfort kills. Amen. But there's a big aspect of the built environment that people seem to forget about, because it intersects with our own willpower. Check this nastiness, yo. Gluttony combined with the prevalence of non-foods as breakfast-lunch-dinner is still the root of our problem. But, as I said, baby steps. Recognizing the built environment, and the gah! of sprawl is a good start.

NP: Rock Plaza Central, 'SexyBack'

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

(ceremony commemorating the first day for new hires at Toyota Motor Company, Aichi Prefecture, Japan)

I don't know why I insist on boxing Japan when I'll be visiting so soon, but sometimes I read things that I already know and it not only makes me spark but also makes me very afraid to even visit. And maybe you don't know about this, hey? So here you go.

Y'all know I love love love visiting Japan, and that I've met some of the most lovely people there, but this is one of the reasons I don't live there.

The special cruelties of death row in Japan have been widely criticized: inmates are deprived of contact with the outside world in a policy designed "to avoid disturbing their peace of mind," say ministry officials; they are kept in solitary confinement and forced to wait an average of more than seven years, and sometimes for decades, in toilet-sized cells while the legal system grinds on.

Decisions about who is to be executed and when often seem arbitrary, but when the order eventually comes, implementation is swift: The condemned have literally minutes to get their affairs in order before facing the noose. There is no time to say goodbye to families. Because the execution orders can come at any time, the inmates, in effect, live each day believing it to be their last.

This is inhumane and cruel. And the way prisoners are treated in Japan is a direct result of how Japan treats anyone deemed "unfit" because of stepping outside of society's rules. As a regular foreign visitor to Japan, I have to be very aware of the way police routinely target "outsiders" for inspection -- stopping you for your identity papers, hauling you into the police station and searching your bag without cause, holding you for twenty-four hours w/o charging you with a crime or allowing you to make a phone call.

One big criticism I have of Japan is how the government sanctions, sometimes officially, the stripping of rights from, and shunning of (effectively dehumanizing) anyone not "normal" -- in this case, death row prisoners, but also the handicapped, and foreigners -- and how easily the Japanese public are then protected from the unpleasantries of knowing what the real effect of this is on their society. Shunning isn't even a strong enough word. It's really like that Twilight Zone episode where the odd one out just doesn't exist, lest acknowledgment brands one with the mark of Cain too.

This sanctioned "turning of a blind eye" to, and the distrust of, anyone out of the ordinary precludes many folks from ever questioning anything, be it the ignorance of evidence that could keep someone from being sentenced to death to why people are collapsing around you and your own throat is burning (Haruki Murakami's Underground, about the Tokyo sarin attacks, chronicles this extensively) to why am I so unhappy toiling away in an office 14 hours a day? This article references a very common and scary quote, to wit: that social homogeneity is what current Prime Minister Abe refers to as "beautiful Japan."

I know railroading differences is a human trait, but in Japan it is done like a religion, or science. And this is the first and most important step in eradicating empathy. Nowhere else on this planet can someone be beaten to death on a rush hour train without a shred of intervention and the police must beg for witnesses to come forward (a story related by a friend in 2004). This is not Wa.

I guess the conundrum is this: where, anywhere, is the balance between individual ideas and that harmony that recognizes we are bound together in our desires as human beings?

Japanese democracy is only 60 years old. The concept of human rights is not ingrained in our history -- Sakae Menda

And is it just that simple?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

(art by Banksy)

Picked up the latest issue of Adbusters yesterday. Brilliant!

Rather than go into detail and yammer on, boring you to death with my opinions about why this issue in particular is so good, I’m going to post quotes from the three articles that made me buy this issue and not just read it at the newsstand.

1. The American Left’s Silly Victim Complex, by Matt Taibbi

What makes the American left silly? Things that in a vacuum should be logical impossibilities are frighteningly common in lefty political scenes. The word “oppression” escaping, for any reason, the mouths of kids whose parents are paying 20 grand for them to go to private colleges. Academics in Priuses using the word “Amerika.” Ebonics, Fanetiks, and other such insane institutional manifestations of white guilt. Combat berets in conjunction with designer coffees consumed at leisure in between conversational comparisons of America to Nazi Germany.

We all know where this stuff comes from. Anyone who’s ever been to a lefty political meeting knows the deal – the problem is the “spirit of inclusiveness” stretched to the limits of absurdity. The post-sixties dogma that everyone’s viewpoint is legitimate, everyone’s choice about anything (lifestyle, gender, ethnicity, even class) is valid, that’s now so totally ingrained that at every single meeting, every time some yutz gets up and starts rambling about anything, no matter how ridiculous, no one ever tells him to shut the fuck up. Next thing you know, you’ve got guys on stilts wearing mime makeup and Cat-in-the-Hat striped top hats leading half a million people at an anti-war rally. Why is that guy there? Because no one told him that war is a matter of life and death and that he should leave his fucking stilts at home.

2. Generation Fucked: How Britain is Eating Its Young, by Maria Hampton

Exploring the links between the “Anglo-American model of progess," consumerism, and epidemic violence and apathy among youth.

According to [the UN’s first ever report on the state of childhood in the industrialized West], which measured 40 indicators of quality of life – including the strength of relationships with friends and family, educational achievements and personal aspirations, and exposure to drinking, drug[s], and other risky behavior -- British children have the most miserable upbringing in the developed world. American children come next.

…But what if the behavior of broken British children is less a violent reaction to their inadequate pasts than calculated defiance against their hopeless futures?

…Independent think-tank Reform branded Britain’s under-35s the “IPOD generation” – insecure, pressured, over-taxed, and debt-ridden. The common perception is that today’s young have it easy. But the true position of young people is thrown into stark relief when compared to their parents, who enjoyed many advantages of which the younger generation can only dream, including a generous welfare state, free universal higher education, secure pensions, and a substantial rise in housing equity which has augmented their lifetime savings.

3. Havens (pictorial)

Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics predicts that the human race will eventually split into a genetically superior upper class of intelligent elites and a dim-witted underclass…the grim side of the prediction is that our growing sense of individualism will lead to diminishment of sympathy, trust, and emotions that allow human beings to care for each other or to work in teams.

BTW, given that first article, I’ll bet on the elites' intelligence being short of extraordinarily useful, and the “underclass” ending up a little less dim-witted than he suggests. Same old same old. But we're definitely blazing down the path of the second part of the quote full bore, which is the scary.

If this whet your appetite for more, pick up Adbusters #71 at your independent newsstand or bookseller (amazing to me when looking for links for Adbusters how many people reviewing past issues bought it at Borders or Amazon) or order it at Atomic Books. It's $8.95, but that's what it costs for no ads with your propaganda.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


The Ai-Mitsu centenary exhibition will be at the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, now through May 27th.


Fancy that, I will be in Japan in May too. Yay!

All this, and Yokohama police caught that serial ferret killer too. Japan, I'm getting excited!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sometimes it feels like there is nothing in the world that Cactus and a double cone at Ici with my baby won’t fix. Crispy vegetable tacos, candied blood orange and lemon pistachio, and the Casual-T, respectively.

NP: New Order, 'Age of Consent'
As usual, I’m a little late in the game, but this proposed code of conduct for bloggers and “netizens” (groan…) that has everyone in a tiz has to get a requisite (gigantic) blurb on my page.

As a regular contributor on a few message boards and blogs, a lurker on others, and of course as a blogger, I understand the general panties in a knot about personal attacks, and sympathize with the scary of stalking. When I first got into this stuff, which was a very short time ago (but, haha, eons in MySpace time), I was completely freaked out by what people would say anonymously. I really dislike jerks who hurt people publicly, and then hide their obvious need for validation behind ragged veils of free speech or being free-thinking or contrary. People saying awful things I just know they wouldn’t say (or ever have to own up to) to someone’s face would grate on me. Dammit, even trolls sometimes still make me batshit. In the past, and quite recently, I have become very angry. I’ve had altercations, I’ve helped to ban people and chosen to leave spaces on my own accord as well, and I’ve chosen to ignore potential fights too.

Those were my choices. That’s the thing. For me, message boards or blogs where the vibe doesn’t fit or I think there's too many fightin' words and not enough real discourse, or I don’t agree with the subject matter or moderator policies, I drop. It’s just like real life, folks. Sometimes respect garners respect, sometimes the opposite. It’s not a level-paying field. But most of the time there are choices. And if you’re able to access the internet, that is one infinite and messy field of choice you got there.

Any place worth having a solid, sane conversation attracts a solid, sane core of people. That self-policing thing? It really can work. Those civility tenets in the article? Natural occurrences on some spaces. Officially labeling some places as fit for consumption, or warning people that they may be subject to flaming – it is paternalistic, creates victims, and opens the door for censorship. Let people get mad and hurt and sad and find solace, or not. Let them live and make their own choices and create and police and build and destroy their own online communities. Don’t hold their freaking hands at every turn.

I don’t want to invalidate the victims of cyber-stalking with my little rant. It is very very real, and frightening -- especially for women, who seem to be the majority of bloggers and message board participants. But stalkers are completely different than your general run of the mill assholes and cowards, or people who just need Prozac or a place to project or blow off steam. The distinction has to be made clear. While I like the idea of general civility guidelines, they can only be a reminder to be human and think of others. Slapping subjective ideas down uniformly as law on the vast internet community and its written word, with honor badges for the “civil” sites and warning signs for the ones who refuse to get into line is not the way to do this. Assholes will just continue to be assholes, but instead of really localizing and eliminating the detritus, everyone is a potential, creating a culture of fear and victimization. Outright threats are one thing; telling someone they’re ugly, fat, stupid, slutty, not as cool as them – whatever – is cruel and childish, but another thing entirely. Let’s not lose perspective. And it is sad that a lot of online community has a monumental amount of childishness, passive-aggressiveness, and posturing punctuated by a few level-headed people. But let’s face it, that is the way real life is too.

So, yeah, I think public interaction online should be handled like real life. You got a problem, you speak up. If you get flamed or the discussion is not your thing, move on. And it may just not be your community. Racists, misogynists, misandrysts, assholes, weasels, attention-whores, posers, gayathiestCatholicpuppybunnywhatever-bashers, and all-around big talkers but small walkers are part of life. But life, and the internet, is vast.

And another thing -- if you delete comments you don’t like from your blog, it is not censorship. That’s your little slice of the internet pie. Who cares? Some people won’t like it, or you. And they’ll talk about you or not come around anymore. That’s called consequences. As long as they don’t threaten or otherwise try to hurt you physically, or post naked pictures of you on MySpace, get over it.

I know not everyone can do this. But do kid-gloves make it better for those who can’t, or worse for them and everyone else?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I love it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I've had a lifelong self-imposed ban on whiskey, probably because of the fact that my (as well as probably most Americans') introduction to whiskey was the sickly sweetness of Jack Daniel's, and pinky-tastes of my Dad's Jim Beam and 7-Up he would let me mix for him after he got off work. Not only do I loathe almost** all sweet drinks, but I especially don't like drinks that taste like maple cough syrup. Ugh.

**barring Coca-Cola. Good lord I like myself a Coca-Cola every now and again. I don't drink it much because I try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup. But thanks to my honey I am now in possession of 12 two-liter bottles of the elusive Passover Coca-Cola. Hee!

So, yes, anyway, never thought I liked whiskey. But recently I've really been getting into Scotch whisky, particularly single-malt Highland or Speyside Scotch. I don't even know enough about them to begin an analysis, but I do know that mossy, smoky, and peaty is definitely my thing. And no mixing -- ever! If I'm going to spend good money on liquor (and life is too short to drink bad alcohol), dammit if I'm not drinking it straight.

Alright, but I do like to have a Grey Goose or Ketel One Citron greyhound or Bloody Mary. Got me there. But that's vodka. Completely different subject. Vodka has a cleaner taste, and any impurities or glaring defects can come through. Bad vs. good vodka is like The Horrors or She Wants Revenge vs. The Cramps or Joy Division. Careful mixing, even by a professional, can't hide crap derivative of a classic.

Another thing about booze and me: as much as I would like to partake in tastings, more than one drink an hour, and hell, even the occassional bacchanal, I am usually relegated to driver, and why? Because of the dreaded Asian Flush. This is not just redness, people. It's every capillary throbbing on the surface of your skin, heart palpatations, and a Russian roulette consisting of will there be queasiness after a couple of drinks tonight, or not? Today though, I think I may have found something that heralded like angels from heaven: I may avoid this curse with the simple application of Pepcid AC.

It's not like I want to be an alcoholic, just enjoy a lovely drink without looking and feeling like a roasted tomato. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 06, 2007

(Koji Takahashi from the gorgeous film Samurai Spy)

The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters segment with Trevor's sensei and the San Francisco dojo is finally airing!

Apr 25, 9:00 pm
(60 minutes)

Walking on Water

It's east meets west in the Mythbusters Ninja Special. Shrouded in secrecy and mythology, not to mention cult popularity Ninjas are perfect fodder for the Mythbusters. In this episode the whole team combine to pit science against martial arts mystique.

You can catch it again April 30 at 8 pm and May 5 at noon. Watch closely: if you see a ninja that's just a little bit sexier than the rest, that's my baby.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hells yeah, bitches.

So, all I said was that in my fascist dictatorship, incompetence would not be rewarded, and that there would be negative consequences for lacking common sense -- like in times before officespaces, when we hunted mammoths or were actively adapting to life's challenges instead of actively impeding the advancement of our own capabilities, times when we at least attempted to think before acting, and being all victimy spelled death, not getting your problem solved. Because otherwise people get trained to default to ineffectual ways of dealing with anything, and they never gain the motivation to learn shit. In my world, the freakout method that is so many people's damage would not be tolerated.

And then my man said that it IS true -- I am Victor von Doom.

Awesome. I mean, really, look at what they say about Latveria:

It is a simple yet prosperous nation, guided by Doom's firm hand and benefited by his advanced technology. The natives of Latveria treat Doctor Doom with a mixture of love, respect, and fear, and call him "Master." Doom asks only that they be happy.

See? And y'all know I could do much worse than being Doctor Doom.

No, really, I could. Check it, yo:


NP: Xiu Xiu, 'Ian Curtis Wishlist'

OMG, this could only happen in the black metal capital of the world. Okay possibly in a NASCAR family too, but this is the most fitting.

Although little Metallica has already been baptized, the Swedish National Tax Board refused to register the name, saying it was associated with both the rock group and the word "metal."

Well, duh. But c'mon, there's no denying it, Sweden -- metal butters your bread in the musical world. Might as well let it take its natural course.

And speaking of rock and roll in all its hilarity -- to each their own, but ew, Keith Richards.