so I drove through Virginia a couple times this christmas, and I have to say, Virginia has a lot of weird signs along the interstate. The first one I saw was one saying "Entering Virginia's Technology Corridor." That's a fine idea, and would make sense if it were in Northern Virginia, where companies like Worldcom and AOL area based, but it's actually in rural Southwestern Virginia, including technology hotbeds like Pulaski and Botetourt Counties (pronounced bot-ee-tot, a cool name). The sign announcing you are entering the corridor is not in a town or next to a computer factory or anything, it's in a hilly area with no houses around, and the only technological thing you see is a cell phone tower. So I guess the cell phone tower is the most high tech thing these folks have seen in awhile, so they decided to dedicate a corridor.

Another sign I like are "Entering Highway Safety Corridor" and "Leaving Highway Safety Corridor." Virginians sure seem to like their corridors. There's only one of these corridors on the entire trip and it's about two miles long. This sounds to me like my complaint about Drug Free Zones: does this mean that the highway is dangerous everywhere except for this 2 mile safety corridor? Why not make the entire highway a safety corridor? And what makes the highway safer here? Are the trees along the road soft and squishy? Are the rocks illusions?

And then there's the "Certified Business Location" signs, when you go into a town or county, like "Welcome to Roanoke, a Certified Business Location." But not all of the towns and counties are "Certified Business Locations," which I guess means they are free to rip you off in those places. Or maybe there aren't any businesses there, just people bartering stuff. "I'll mow your lawn for a foot-long meatball sub."

And finally, the other signs they have for going into and out of the town of Salem are funny. Enstead of "Entering Salem" and "Leaving Salem," it's an order; the signs say "Enter Salem" and "Leave Salem." I want to get a spray can and write "OR ELSE" on them. And what's even funnier is that the border of the town of Salem seems to cross the Interstate a few times, because you pass 3 or 4 "Leave Salem" signs, but there aren't any corresponding "Enter Salem" signs. It looks like they don't want anyone to visit. Maybe it's because Salem is also part of the Technology Corridor, and the residents are busy working at such high-tech places as the Shoney's and Waffle House.


so I think it's funny that whenever you go to a restaurant, especially a chain, all of the ingredients are always "famous" or "premium." Like that stuff is actually famous anywhere. If you go overseas, people don't say "Oh, you are American! Do you eat the sausage from Pizzeria Uno? I love the ice tea at Cracker Barrel!" I mean, just say it's good or something, or farm-raised or say where it's from or something like that. If you have to tell people that something is famous, then it's obviously not.


so I had been wondering for some time about the funding for the group opposed to bringing baseball to DC, "No DC Taxes for Baseball." This question first came to me when overnight, literally thousands of nice, printed signs appeared all over the city, and literally every lamp post in some parts of the city. I had asked in various places, like the Adams Morgan list serve, where the funding came from, and had always been told by people the funding came from from non-profits and groups like that, nice ones like DC Action for Children, Save DC Parks and Play Spaces, and Wider Opportunities for Women. However, WTOP Radio just posted this story saying that 20% of the group's budget came from a guy named Robert Siegel, who owns a bunch of porno theaters, adult bookstores, and gay nightclubs on the proposed site of the stadium, and who thus obviously would be opposed to it for financial reasons. I think this is ridiculous for a bunch of reasons, one being him having such a shallow and short-term viewpoint. I mean, you can put a nightclub anywhere! And secondly, the group's website, www.nodctaxesforbaseball.org just happens to not mention him as a donor. It makes me wonder who else gives money to the group and isn't mentioned, like Orioles owner Peter Angelos?


so I want to move to this town.

That's awesome. I also like that it's between the towns of Cuckoo and Old Bandana. I think my goal in life is to become Mayor of Bumpass.

so the band Manitoba was forced to change its name to Caribou recently, which I think is really stupid. Apparently the lead singer of some band called The Dictators, whose stage name is Handsome Dick Manitoba, sued Dan Snaith, the main guy from the band Manitoba over copywright infringement, and Snaith was forced to give up. This is so stupid, as for one thing, you'd have to be a moron to confuse "Handsome Dick Manitoba" with Manitoba, and the band Manitoba has been around for awhile anyway, he has a few albums and has been on tour. And he has to be more famous anyway, at least in my opinion, I consider myself fairly knowledgable and I've never heard of the Dictators. I mean, lots of stage names include names of real people. Should Marilyn Manson change his name, because people might think he is Marilyn Monroe or Charles Manson? How about Howlin' Pelle Almquist from the Hives, he ought to be sued by the blues singer Howlin' Wolf, right? How stupid.

But anyway, "Caribou" is a good band, they do interesting electronic rock stuff, and you should check them out.



so DC council chair Linda Cropp appears to have killed the deal bringing baseball to DC, which makes me furious. After saying all along she was in favor of the deal, she added an amendment yesterday to the financing package requiring 50% private financing, which was not part of the original deal with baseball. Baseball replied that this was not part of the deal, and it's wholly unacceptable, and stopped all sales and publicity for the team. The deal the city made with baseball wasn't the best deal, but I think it's the best we're going to get, and none of the money comes out of DC citizens' pockets anyway, it's all paid for by big companies, the owners of the stadium, and by taxes on stuff bought at the stadium (2/3 of which will be bought by people from Virginia and Maryland.) Meaning over the long run, it's adding money to DC coffers. It's ridiculous, because the city and baseball had a deal, and then Linda Cropp kept adding things and saying "add this too, and this, or else there is no deal." I've heard her maneuvers called an "ambush," "bait-and-switch," a "poison pill", etc etc. There are some good points in the Post today, Michael Wilbon says that Cropp is right to bring up objections, but she should have done so months ago, before the deal was agreed to by both sides. Instead, months ago she was sitting on the dais with the Mayor and baseball officials, saying how happy she was to get the team. Then all of a sudden she changes her mind, which is pretty obviously to try to get votes for her upcoming mayoral run. And Thomas Boswell makes the point "what if baseball commissioner Bud Selig did the same thing?" What if after we signed the deal, he kept adding other requirements? Obviously, DC residents would be furious. So how must baseball feel now? In short, it's ridiculous. Unless something huge happens, like Linda Cropp backing off her schemes or a private financier coming forward, we won't have baseball here next year, and probably not for a long, long time.

Linda Cropp's email address is lcropp@dccouncil.us, and her office phone is (202) 724-8032. Please call her, as she said today that her phone was ringing off the hook, but most opposition was coming from outside DC, that "her constituents oppose baseball."


so here's a mini-review of a cd i got awhile ago:

Clinton - Disco & The Halfway To Discontent

Clinton is Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres from Cornershop (who had the hit song "Brimful of Asha" from "When I Was Born for the Seventh Time" a few years ago), and their album "Disco & The Halfway To Discontent" sounds just like what it is, a dance music side project, and like many side projects, it sounds kind of half-assed, or at least unfinished. Basically it's funkier, sparser, and more electronic and with fewer lyrics than your average Cornershop album. And like Cornershop's other alubms, it still includes influences from the 1960's and Indian music, as well as a lot of samples, and it has the vocal quirks Singh likes to use like monotone singing. The album is alright overall. It's kind of repetitive, especially the more boring tracks like "Electric Ice Cream (Miami Jammies)" despite the funny title, "Before the Fizz is Gone," "Sing Hosanna," which is apparently a cover of a hymn or that old "Red River Valley" song, and "Hip Hop Bricks," which reminds me of Daft Punk's song "Teachers," where lots of bands (or something) are listed off. And even the best tracks on the album, "Giddian di Rani," and the Avalanches-lite, sample-heavy "Welcome to Tokyo, Otis Clay," feel like they aren't finished. A lot of songs on this album are like the Crusades: they start out like they're going to kick some ass, then they fall apart, or at best, just wander around doing nothing interesting. The bonus tracks, "David D. Chambers," and the better-than-the-original "Fila Brazilia Disco Frisco" mix of "People Power in the Disco Hour" are good as well, but they tell me that Clinton's song titles are too long. And it's not a good sign when two of the best tracks on an album are the bonus tracks. If all of the tracks had as much going on as the "Fila Brazilia Disco Frisco" mix, the album would have been more interesting, although maybe Singh and Ayres were going for the sparse sound. This is apparently a political CD, but I didn't get that impression from the frequently random/uninteresting lyrics, which are sort of spoken in Singh's usual way. In short, it's good background music and there are some bright spots, but I'm glad I got it used.


so I think it's ridiculous that so many pro athletes are getting DUIs. (Redskins rookie Sean Taylor, for instance.) It seems like it happens so often to athletes, and it's not like it's hard to avoid driving drunk. First off, if you're drunk, one of your buddies or the bartender or whatever shouldn't let you drive. That's just common sense, call a cab. But secondly, all of these guys are millionaires, why don't they just hire a damn driver? He can be a hanger-on or whatever, come to the bar or party with you, hang out, not drink, then drive you home when you're drunk. I mean, I'd do it. Give me $100 bucks, NBA player, I'll drive your Escalade home. Or maybe I'll form a company, DC Drunk Athlete Chauffeuring. We can be on call 24 hours a day, serving all locations in the metro area. And we won't comment on who rides back with you! Well, unless we're subpoenaed, I guess.

In other news, I found this cool site about a proposed redesign of the Volkswagen Westphalia camper van, it looks awesome. Maybe they'll call it the Rhineland. Little geography joke there.

(there's an English link on the bottom of the page)


so i'm trying to grow a beard but it's not working too well - it's a lot thicker on the left side of my face than on my right. it's weird, i don't really know why it does that, since it's not like i got a face transplant or anything. if i really want to have an even beard, i think i'll have to give the right side a few days' head start. maybe i sleep on the right side of my face or something and that keeps the hair from growing as fast. or maybe my parents just gave me crooked genes.



Originally uploaded by squidpants.
So I finally got some photos uploaded from my camera phone of a couple GW basketball games.

The first two are free throw shooting by a Mt. St. Mary's player at GW's home arena, the Smith Center. GW won 81-58. They view is from my seats, which are pretty good as you can tell. Especially for $39 bucks!

The third photo is the GW-Randolph Macon exhibition game, taken from the student section at the Smitty.

The view from my seats
Originally uploaded by squidpants.

Originally uploaded by squidpants.


so GW basketball had a big weekend, which is pretty awesome, beating #9 / #11 Michigan State and #12 Maryland (extra awesome), and we're now ranked #21 in the country on one poll, which is the first time we've been ranked in awhile.

But the funny thing I wanted to mention was that I went to the game with Morgan State (a small historically black school from Baltimore) and our dance team did routines to songs by Hot Hot Heat and the Killers. I thought this was pretty bizarre, usually the dance team (and every dance team, ever) do their dances to stuff like "We like to move it, move it" and the Jock Jams megamix, not hipster indie stuff. It was funny, to say the least, I guess whoever chose the music was some indie guy who wanted to let everybody hear some good music. And it is pretty good, but not what you expect a dance team to use. It would have been funnier if the dancers had acted like hipsters, dressed all in denim or something, smoking Gauloises and drinking PBR. But then if they were hipsters, that means they wouldn't be dancing at all, and a team like that would only be appropriate at art school, and of course art school people usually don't like sports. I wonder what they'll play next game, maybe Franz Ferdinand or the Faint or the Rapture or something. Maybe the girls will dance like the machines in the "Take Me Out" video.
so here's my new concert list. it's really small, which sucks. i guess most of the good bands go home for christmas, but the bad ones keep touring

SAT JAN 29 Bright Eyes w/ Coco Rosie and Tilly and the Wall 9:30 Club SOLD OUT!

Late Janish - The Arcade Fire - 930 club. SOLD OUT! Damn hipsters.

MON JAN 31- THE BRAVERY $7 backstage 9:00 Black Cat

Fri Feb 4- is a "Lottery"--in which attendees chosen out of a hat
perform with each other and some WIT players for a paying audience. 7:30 DCAC

Sat Feb 5- is a showcase for the many awesome college improv
troupes in the area. 7:30 DCAC

SAT FEB 6 - Kings of Convenience $16 IOTA

Sat Feb 19 - Mary Timony, Panoply Academy, Horses, Edie Sedgwick 9:00 Warehouse Next Door

TUE. FEB. 22 - Le Tigre w/ Lesbians on Ecstasy & Measles Mumps Rubella 930 Club $15.00

THUR FEB 24- TEENBEAT 20th anniversary featuring UNREST(reunion), EGGS (reunion), +/- (PLUS MINUS), TRUE LOVE ALWAYS, THE FONTAINE TOUPS, JONNY COHEN $12 Black Cat mainstage 8:00

FRI FEB 25- TEENBEAT 20th anniversary featuring TUSCADERO (reunion), VERSUS (reunion), FLIN FLON, ADEN, HOT PURSUIT, HOLLAND $12 Black Cat mainstage 9:00

TUES MAR 1- RACHEL’S, IDA $13 Black Cat mainstage 9:00

SAT MAR 5- AMBULANCE LTD, VHS OR BETA $12 Black Cat mainstage 9:30

THUR MAR 10- ASH $13 Black Cat mainstage 8:30

FRI MAR 11 - Hot Hot Heat, 9:30 Club


so i think i am going to invest in some chap stick companies. they say you should invest in stuff you use, and those guys must make so much money off of me. The tubes are small and round and can roll away easily, and I never finish a tube because I always lose them first. I think i'm listed in their prospectus as their ideal customer or something. I'll use a tube for like 3 days then it'll disappear. Then I'll find the tube 6 months later behind my bed but lose it again two days later.


so I write record reviews from time to time, here's one I have been working on for awhile, "Ringodom or Proctor" by Head of Femur. I heard them on launch.yahoo.com, which i like to hype a lot.

Head of Femur takes its name from Elvis's appearance on the EdSullivan Show, where in order not to expose kids to his swivelling hips, the cameramen weren't allowed to show anything below the top ("head") of his femur. A cynical person might call them a less-angry, catchier version of Bright Eyes, but the band is more complex than that, sounding a bit like Camper Van Beethoven or an indier They Might Be Giants mixed with 80's alternative and power pop. An indie-rock orchestra with no fewer than 8 people on stage when I saw them in September, Head of Femur's sound is also a little reminscent of Belle and Sebastian and the Decembrists, especially with their use of a lot of acoustic instruments. Most of the songs are fast and have multiple distinct parts and I notice new things each time I hear them. The guys have They Might Be Giants' and the Flaming Lips' strange sense of humor as well, with odd song titles and their webside listing various members as playing "trumpet, attitude," "weird guitar," "stunt vocals," and so on.

Their debut album is called "Ringodom or Proctor" and while I have no idea what this means (and the band's reply was "to the best of our knowledge it has to do with ringo starr and witches in the puritan times,") the album is an interesting and a fun listen that gets better each time I hear it. The songs are all fairly dense and complex, with a lot of instruments and many distinct sections, part of the reason that the songs grow with each listen.

The Bright Eyes influence is obvious in songs like "80 Steps to Jonah," and "My Dad, My Cousin... and Ronnie," with plaintitive singing (lead singer Matt Focht's voice sounds just like Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst) and confessional and conversational, though often hard-to-follow, lyrics. This influence makes sense though, as Focht and three other band members are or were in Bright Eyes (and keyboardist and drummer Ben Armstrong played in Oberst's old band, Commander Venus.) However, the band doesn't sound like a Bright Eyes knockoff, having catchier melodies and complex songs, along with apoppier, sunnier sound.

Opener "January on Strike" starts out slow and is reminiscent of Bright Eyes, then abruptly stops, changes course and becomes catchier. It's a short song and leads well into "Curve that Byrd," my favorite song on the album. It has a fast, whistle-along melody with slightly drony singing that shifts in the middle to be more gentle and catchy. As with a lot of the album, the lyrics don't make a lot of sense, but it's an likable song anyway.

The toe-tapping "80 Steps to Jonah" has an interesting beginning with fast xylophones and cymbals, then goes through numerous different iterations. Again, Focht's voice sounds just like Oberst's, but the variety within the song makes it interesting.

"Acme, the Summit of a Mountain" sounds like a lost college rock song from early the 80's, with quick cymbals and an power-poppy vibe. I was singing parts of it to myself afterwards, especially the "I don't wanna go to tech school" section of what might be called the chorus. It's also a little reminscent of They Might Be Giants' earlier songs, as it's slightly kooky and a little homemade sounding. "Science Needed a Medical Man" is also reminiscent of early TMBG, being fast and catchy with a start and stop beat.

A few songs miss slightly, like "The True Wheel," a cover of a Brian Eno song, which sounds like the triumphant music played during a key scene in an 80's teen movie, and its falsetto singing is a little annoying. "Money is the Root of All Evil" is also a little annoying, the band sounds like they just thought up with the title phrase and are trying to make a serious statement by singing it over and over.

Album closer "The Car Wore A Halo Hat" sounds like older Flaming Lips, with the strange title, the swirling, slightly psychedelicinstrumentation, and the echoing vocals.

In all, "Ringodom or Proctor" is a little weird and reminds me of alot of other things, but the diversity between the songs and within each song makes it an interesting indie record, worth some repeated listens. If the album were a little more focused or tighter, it would be not just interesting but great. As of now, it's still good.



so what is up with eskimo boots and ponchos women are wearing all of a sudden? is fashion from the edges of the country "in" all of a sudden? will it keep moving outwards, and women will be wearing stuff from siberia and central america next? i guess I don't understand women's fashion, since it seems like every year there is some ugly thing that women start wearing. i mean, eskimo boots look ridiculous, especially when girls tuck their jeans into them. is there some sort of mass brainwashing that girls get when a new clothing item comes out? "must wear new thing, must ignore that it looks bad." and the same thing with those knit ponchos. unless you are leading llamas in the Andes, ponchos aren't for you. and when I see 8 year olds at the mall wearing ponchos, it means that the fashion trend is over. just stop.


so it's chilly and crisp, which means it's college basketball weather. i like this time of year, when college hoops gets started, because it means I get to see lots of GW games for cheap, and you start seeing schools like Elon and Creighton on TV again. If anybody is a GW grad and a DC area resident, or just a basketball fan in DC, you should consider season tickets to GW games, they're only $39 for alumni for pretty good seats. the games are high scoring and up-tempo, with lots of alley oops and fast breaks.


I'm in section 219, but all of those green seats on the right side are good.


so I hope I'm overreacting here, but it seems like a lot of really messed up stuff is happening all of a sudden (and it just so happens that the election is now over). First, the Republicans changed some rules so that Majority Leader (and Majority Dick) Tom DeLay won't have to step down from those positions if he is indicted in Texas for campaign contribution violations. Then the Republicans raised the maximum amount of debt the government can rack up, meaning the President can make the debt larger and larger than its ever been, without having to consider any alternatives. Both of these rule changes are ridiculous, they show that most Republicans in Congress would rather change the rules than abide by them. The DeLay thing is just an obvious, behind-the-back way to prop up their "boy" who created a ridiculously unfair and illogical redistricting in Texas so that Republicans could gain five seats in the House. They claim they are doing it because the district attorney is a Democrat and it's a partisan attack, but 3 of his associates and 7 corporations have already been indicted by a nonpartisan grand jury for the same thing. Thus it's pretty obvious they are just trying to change the rules to save his stupid, lying (but effective in hurting Democrats) ass. He's already had four ethics violations in the House, one of which was about the Texas redistricting, so basically now they're saying he can do whatever he wants, and we'll keep him in power. And the debt limit is ridiculous too: "gee, maybe we should tell the government to spend less? No, let's just raise the limit they can spend." The Federal Reserve has already warned the U. S. about our massive deficit and how it could damage our economy and the world's.

Here's some articles about this stuff:






so Ol' Dirty Bastard died the other day, which sucks. I always thought he was a pretty funny and interesting dude, and "Got Your Money" is a pretty hilarious and awesome song. I was talking with my roommate about funny stuff he did, starting with changing his name to Big Baby Jesus, Joe Bannanas (sic, apparently) and then Dirt McGirt. Big Baby Jesus is my favorite by far though, I think I may rename my fantasy football team that. I remember watching one time when ODB took an MTV camera crew with him in a limo to pick up his food stamps, which is funny. And another time he was on MTV talking about how he got chlamydia and how it's bad, which was pretty bizarre. But this got me thinking, as I get older, more and more famous people I like are going to die. I was thinking about when Beck dies or the guys from Weezer or something. It's odd, I guess I am getting older. I was watching MTV and they were showing one of those "True Life" shows, with the famous people talking about their lives, "you think you know, but you have no idea." Usually it's Chris Rock or Britney Spears or something, but this episode was somebody called Omarion, which made me feel old, since I have never heard of this person ever. Of course, I'm not really that old, but still.


so i was reading the news on Yahoo, as I usually do, and I saw an article called "Falwell plans for 'evangelical revolution'" which I thought sounded interesting. However, when I clicked on it I was sent to an article called "Secret German Cult in Chile Breaks 43-Year Spell," which I thought was pretty funny. Interesting revolution idea, Mr. Falwell. Here's the German cult article, pretty odd stuff.



so one of my coworkers smells like toilet paper. it's that scented kind that smells sort of powdery, it's weird. i sat down next to her and i smelled something. i thought maybe it was me, that i didn't rinse the soap off well enough from the shower, but nope, I didn't smell anything when I left my desk. So either she spilled baby powder into her keyboard, she uses Charmin brand perfume, or I don't know what.


so a few days before halloween, this pumpkin appeared on our porch. I didn't look at it for awhile, I figured it was just something our upstairs neighbors put out, and that was nice of them. Then a couple days later some folks came over and somebody said "Hey, nice pumpkin,"and i said "what?" They said it was a donkey fucking an elephant, which was pretty funny, since I'd never noticed that anything was on it (probably because I only come in the front door if I've been out at a bar.) So I went out and looked at it, and sure enough, it was a well-carved donkey giving it to an elephant. I thought our upstairs neighbors were pretty clever folks and laughed about it. Then a couple of days ago, I saw them in the foyer and they said "hey, nice pumpkin." I said, "wait, didn't you make it?" and they said "no, I thought you did." So apparently somebody gave us a very funny pumpkin. Luckily we're Democrats and thought it was funny, but we're all pretty confused as to where it could have come from. My guesses are either our landlord, who is an old guy I can't really see carving a dirty pumpkin, or maybe some drunk person picked it up off somebody else's porch and got tired of carrying it. Hopefully they didn't take it from one of our neighbors, since taking a pumpkin and displaying it pretty obviously won't really endear us to them.


so this girl in the cubicle next to me is talking about a lot of non-work safe stuff, it's pretty funny. she's talking on the phone in a normal voice about partying on halloween, like "I got so wasted, and my friend said I did all these tequila shots, but I totally didn't remember until he told me," etc. Then she said she had a hangover, her friend got with a girl with too much makeup, and that all of her guy friends have ugly girlfriends, which is funny stuff to overhear at work. It's not offensive to me obviously and I could give a shit about her not doing work, but it's amusing that at 4 o'clock with all the bosses and stuff still in the building still here she doesn't care about anybody overhearing her. The other guy in my cubicle and me are laughing (quietly) at everything, it's good times. Somebody else came in to talk to her about work stuff, and she said "I love talking to my girlfriend, but sometimes we keep going on and on," which caused us both to say "yup, that's about right."


so the Democrats got pretty thoroughly trounced. My first reaction was "I want to see some heads roll," namely the Democratic leadership, and I was glad Tom Daschle lost, since to me, an outsider, it seemed like he didn't do much. The Democrats kept losing and losing, and I think we need a change. But this is tough stuff, what is the party going to do? I think they should sharpen their agenda and make a "Contract for America" type of thing like the Republicans used so effectively in '94. One of my biggest complaints (echoed by my roommate) was that there wasn't really a vision in this election, it was "George W. Bush is bad." And while that's true, and Kerry did propose some stuff, I don't think that message is going to get any more voters who weren't already voting for Kerry because they hated Bush. Kerry isn't somebody people would support in a vacuum, which is unfortunate, since he's a good and smart man and I am sure would have done a good job as president. So barring a charismatic, Clinton-like candidate (maybe Obama or even Dean), the Democrats need a solid, simple, well-articulated platform: we stand for better environment, taxes on rich people, no go-it-alone foreign policy, etc, taking a page from the Republicans book and repeating the hell out of it. Of course, there are some things that people apparently dislike Democrats for, like gay marriage, which to me is honestly shocking that people oppose it, since so many states voted to ban it. Maybe that's something gay groups should work on, educating people about gays and gay marriage and why it's not bad. There can't be that many fundamentalist Christians out there to result in 70-30 votes in all those states. And I've also heard that a lot of fundamentalist Christians think that Democrats look down upon them, which is pretty much true, me included. So maybe that's something we should rethink: we disagree with your values, but that doesn't make you morons (even though I am still out on that issue). We also need to do something about the South, it seems like, as we got thoroughly trounced there, and many Southern states set records for voter turnout. The population of Southern states is going up to while the Northeast and Rust Belt is declining. The only bright spot I can see is that most young people and most first-time voters were for Kerry. Hopefully we can keep them.


so everybody should vote, and hopefully for Kerry. And I should have posted this months ago, but I put together a CD I call the "George W. Bush CD" (clever name, huh?) which consists of songs that somehow relate to our current prez. I wanted to pick songs that people would recognize, since I am sure there are a million bands with songs like "Bush Sucks." Anyway, here is the track listing:

Creedence Clearwater Revival- Fortunate Son
Barenaked Ladies - Alcohol
Sam Cooke - Don't Know Much About History
Beck - Loser
The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
Nada Surf - Popular
Eric Clapton - Cocaine
Ice Cube - A Bird in the Hand (Is Worth More than a Bush)
Edwin Starr - War (you know, it's the "War, hoo, what is it good for? absolutely nothin" song)
Dennis Leary - Asshole
Outkast - Bombs over Baghdad
Country Joe and the Fish - Vietnam
REM - It's the End of the World (or whatever that song is called)
Ministry - New World Order


so I haven't said much about the Red Sox-Yankees series, and I have to say, I think it was great. Now I am not a Red Sox fan, and in fact I have no connection to the American League being a Rockies fan, but I don't think there was a better way for the Yankees to lose. Actually, I should say I don't hate the Yankees team as much as I hate (most) Yankee fans, who are the worst fans in baseball. They're arrogant to the extreme and without fail will rub in any victory, even if it had nothing to do with the way the Yankees played. For example, they love Jeffrey Maier, that kid who reached over the outfield fence in an ALCS game and caught a ball hit by a Yankee, which the umpire then ruled was a home run. It was clear, even without review, that the ball would not have been a home run and probably would have been caught by Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco, yet the Yankees fans went insane with joy, worship this kid, and laugh about it to this day: "Haha, isn't it funny that we cheated and won that game, then the ALCS and World Series? Hooray for us." And then in this series, Alex Rodriguez tried, pretty obviously, to smack the ball out of the hand of the Red Sox pitcher trying to tag him out. Any moron knows this is illegal, but the Yankees fans booed and threw things onto the field like a bunch of babies when A-Rod was finally called out. If your team is really that good, you'd accept the correct ruling and shut up. And yet all during this and every other series with the Red Sox, all I heard from Yankees fans was "it's inevitable," "the Red Sox can never beat the Yankees," "what did you expect would happen" etc etc etc. And now, after the biggest collapse in history, they finally get what they deserve, and all the Yankees fans are saying "Well now you need to win 22 more World Series," or whatever the number the Yankees have won. What a bunch of sore losers (and sorer winners). Of course, next year the Yankees will probably just use their massive bank account to buy Carlos Beltran and whatever other top free agents there are, but at least this year they can stew all offseason about what went wrong.

And in related news, one of my roommates and I were talking about Albert Pujols and our other roommate started laughing. We had never noticed in the 2 years or whatever that he's has been famous that his name is "Poo-holes."


so i found this really funny page of kids in offensively hilarious halloween costumes (written by Dan Savage of Savage Love and some other guy.) The kids' expressions are the best.


(I found the page at www.dcist.com, a cool news blog about DC.)
so this guy at my work lives in Pennsylvania. I work in D.C. This makes absolutely no sense to me, and I overheard him saying that he has a two to three hour commute each way. I mean, do you hate the DC area that much that you'd spend six hours a day, five days a week avoiding it? You're on the road almost as long as you're working! Why not just buy a place somewhere reasonable, like I dunno, an hour away? The absolute nearest place to DC I can find in Pennsylvania is 80 miles away, and I don't travel 80 miles all week. And any money you save living up there has to be eaten up by the money you spend on the train and the time you waste. Is it really that hard to get work in Pennsylvania that you have to work two states away? Is there a Dust Bowl or something? I think we need to contact the president and stop the depression in southern PA.


so i haven't watched Saturday Night Live in a long time, butapparently Ashee Simpson was lipsynching on the last episode. I am shocked! Apparently, she was holding the mic at her side and the speakers started to play her voice singing the song she sang earlier, then her band started playing, and then she walked off stage afterabout 30 seconds. Then after the show she blamed her band for playing the wrong song. Being in Ashlee Simpson's band has got to suck enoughas it is, I don't think she should be making them feel worse by blaming them when her prerecorded vocals mess up. I think a lot of people lipsynch on SNL, especially teeny-pop people (or fake teeny-rock in her case), and that really doesn't bother me. But if you get caught Milli Vanilli-style when a recording of you singing is being played and you are obviously not singing, I think you should admit it and not diss your already unfortunate band members. That and you should write and sing your ownsongs, but that's just me. The Post had a pretty scathing article about it that's worth checking out, apparently now she is blaming acid-reflux disease and somebody else said her drummer pushed the button for the wrong pre-recorded song. It's tough to be a fake rock star who only is famous because of her sister sometimes.



so I got a spam email the other day from "Pickles T. Tonsillectomy." I think that's the best made-up name ever, even better than Hercules Rockefeller and Rembrandt Q. Einstein from the Simpsons. If I were in a band, Pickles T. Tonsillectomy would be my pseudonym.


so I was looking for a card the other day for my parents' anniversary, which was pretty futile because all the cards are really corny or jokes about viagra. no thanks. but anyway, i noticed that all the places i went to had one little section for "Troubled Relationship," and they all had the same one card. it was pretty bizarre, like "I'm sorry for all I have done, I wish I could take it all back, you know I do, I still love you" etc etc. Which is odd, because those are some pretty specific details, and you'd think a card wouldn't really help a troubled relationship that much anyway. like "sorry for sleeping around, here's a card." i don't see it.


so I went to see the Libertines yesterday at the 9:30 Club, it was alright. The sound was pretty muddled at first, it was hard to distinguish the instruments and the lead singer's voice was hard to understand. However, the singer has been kicked out of the band for drugs and alcohol a couple times, so maybe he was just slurring. The band was loud however and the bass was good, and I did recognize some songs I knew and liked, but I was a little underwhelmed at first. The sound got better as the show went on though and I could start to distinguish words, even in songs I didn't know. It was weird for awhile though since I knew what he was supposed to be singing, but heard sort of "ahmm mmee gguurr" or whatever, parts of sounds. And I guess you could say they didn't connect with the audience either really until the very end when the drummer said "Washington is great!" and sounded genuine. But otherwise, they didn't say much at all or do anything. But in any case, it was pretty enjoyable, even if the sound wasn't that great. I still really like their first CD, Up The Bracket, and some day I plan on posting a review. It seemed like the songs from that CD are a lot catchier and hookier than the new songs they played.


so this Texas redistricting thing is pissing me off. Tom Delay, House Republican majority leader, who is from Texas, (and has been cited three times in the House for ethics violations already,) has been pushing this plan that changes Texas from having an equal number of Republican and Democrat congressional districts (16 each), to having at least 22 Republican districts and 10 or fewer Democratic districts. Gee, that seems a little odd.

What makes me angry is that the Republicans aren't denying it's purely for their own gain, one Republican official said something like "Texas is a Republican state anyway, and this is just reflecting that" (unfortunately, I can't locate the quote). Another one said "who gives a flip [or possibly fuck, I've seen it both ways] about the People's Republic of Travis County," the county where Austin is located. Well, maybe that guy should, since that's the capital of Texas.

These new districts are shaped completely non-sensically, so it's obvious they are just drawn to dilute Democratic votes and not to make an actual region. For example, Austin, a strongly Democratic area, is divided into thirds. One of these districts snakes from Austin to the Mexican border (see http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/research/redist/pdf/map_plan01374c.pdf, district 25).

Now why should parts of Austin and some border towns three hundred miles away be in the same district? There's a simple answer: They shouldn't. The same thing is done all over the map, in district 10 (which snakes from Austin to Houston), in Dallas and Fort Worth, in San Antonio, and in Houston. Redistricting can and should be simple, with districts being a normal, non-snake-like shape: a few counties that make an solid area, or in the case of districts that are in an urban area, they should be large solid sections, perhaps organized by groups of neighborhoods or suburban towns. Congressman should have an actual constituency, a real region, not a random smattering of voters from wholly unrelated places, put together solely to change the totals in the House of Representatives.

And what makes me especially mad is that you can regulate the size and shape of districts easily and fairly, using geography to compare the perimeter of the district to the size (in square miles) of the district: if the ratio is too large, then it should be redrawn. Another way is by figuring the area of the largest circle that can fit inside the district and the area of largest circle that can fit around it, and comparing the two areas. If there is too much discrepancy, redraw it. I think redistricting should be done solely on population, based on actual regions, maybe even by computer, and there should be no consideration of race, party affiliation, or anything else.

For example, check out my drawing below and see the difference between the circles in example 1 and example 2. I did this in five minutes with the Paint program, imagine what professors with computers could do.

But the whole thing makes me mad, it seems like so often now people do things without caring at all whether what they are doing is right or fair, only if it accomplishes some goal. Any moron can see these districts aren't drawn to better represent the voters in the state and Delay and his cronies don't care, they just wanted more seats as quickly as possible. That's not how government, or anything else, should be run.


so there's news hand soap in the bathroom at work and it smells like just coconut rum. this is sort of bad, since i come back to my desk smelling like i chugged a bottle and poured it all over myself. "hey boss, not drinking on the job, just washed my hands." i mean i guess it's coconut soap or cocoa butter or whatever, but maybe they should get some non-alcohol smelling soap. how about good old medicinal-chemically smelling?


so there's this guy at work who walks by my cubicle a lot and always shuffles his feet. it's pretty annoying, since most of us learned how to walk properly when we were about 2 years old. you can hear him scooting along, scoot scoot scoot, which is actually good because i can tell when i should hide ESPN.com or whatever non-work stuff I'm doing, and he walks pretty slowly so it takes him awhile. he's not old and doesn't look disabled or anything, he just shuffles. one of my coworkers at my old job did the same thing. it was very weird, like she was afraid to take big steps, but she walked normally outside of work. maybe some people are overly sensitive to air conditioning or the water cooler causes some kind of leg-lock. or maybe they just wear pants that are too long.


so I read that Michael Jackson is trying to get the networks that show music videos to pull Eminem's new video, "Just Lose It," because it makes fun of him. I think everybody already knew that MTV sucks, but it's ridiculous if they do pull it, basically they are saying that musicians can't say anything bad about other musicians, unless it's on MTV News. And I mean, how is a rapper dissing other musicians new? That happens all the time. I've seen the Eminem video and it's pretty funny and really not that offensive, Emimen is wearing a Santa Claus costume and raps "Come here little kiddie, on my lap. Guess who's back with a brand new rap," then says something like "that's not a rip on Michael, just a metaphor," and then dances on a sidewalk that lights up (like the Billie Jean video) and sets his hair on fire (like that Pepsi commercial). BET has pulled the video, which is stupid of them to do. First off, I think Michael Jackson needs some thicker skin (literally! ha!). If you think and then tell everybody that it's totally normal for grown men to sleep in the same bed as little kids they aren't related to, I think you ought to know you're going to get made fun of. And anyway, why does Michael Jackson have any influence? He hasn't had a decent song in at least 10 years. Christina Aguilera and Fred Durst are pretty lame, but at least they didn't whine and try to get the networks to pull Eminem's other videos that make fun of them. Well, maybe they did. But see for yourself, here's the video, which is pretty hilariously stupid, in my opinion:


And an article on Michael Jackson being offended:



so i'm always confused by those bathrooms at bars where there's a urinal and a toilet but no stalls or partitions. is it supposed to be a one person bathroom, or can two guys piss at the same time? it seems like half the time people lock the doors and half the time they don't, and sometimes i see guys in line tell the person in front of them that it's a two person bathroom, but sometimes the guy in front of them says "no it's not" and doesn't budge. maybe the bar owners make the bathrooms like that on purpose so the bartenders can have something to laugh at.


so I like this song "Slow Jamz" by Twista and/or Kanye West (it's on both their albums, I guess Kanye produced it). The song's pretty funny, one of the lines is "she's got a light-skinned friend looks like Michael Jackson, got a dark-skinned friend, looks like Michael Jackson" which I think is a pretty good joke. But anyway, the song is about a girl who wants a guy to put on some "Slow Jamz" so they can get it on. Jamie Foxx, for some reason, sings the chorus, which is "she said she wants some Ready for the World, some New Edition, some Minnie Ripperton, so we can set this party off right." I think this is a little strange, because if a girl asked me to put on some New Edition, I'd say ok and step into my time machine to 1992. It's not exactly the first thing I'd think of. And if she asked for some Ready for the World, I'd tell her I don't know what that is, and I guess I'd put in Air or Tenacious D or something. But I suppose I'm not really the target audience of this song, since I rarely listen to slow jamz anyway.


so I take surveys online from time to time to win stuff, and one of them is about my health. It asked me if I had Non-erosive reflux disease (NERD), which I thought was pretty funny. "Help, doctor! I am afflicted with NERD!" Good thing I don't have Toxic erosive reflux disease (TERD).


so here's my updated list of concerts I want to go to and who I'm going with, so I don't forget.

>SUN OCT 10- RILO KILEY, NOW IT’S OVERHEAD, TILLY AND THE WALL $12 Black Cat mainstage 8:30 - Rae and Erin

>MON OCT 11- MOUNTAIN GOATS, JOHN VANDERSLICE, JOAN OF ARC $10 Black Cat mainstage 8:30 - Sarah (and friends?)

>TUE OCT 12 Camper van Beethoven $20.00 930 Club - hopefully Chris

WED OCT 13, Josh Joplin and Cordero, Jammin Java, Vienna, 8 pm - Laura?

>WED OCT 13 Head of Femur, Baltimore, MD - Talking Head Club - Adam and Kate?

THURS OCT 14 Black Hand, Velvet Lounge - Aaron and or Sarah?

>SUN OCT 17 The Faint w/ TV on the Radio & Beep Beep $15.00 9:30 Club - Laura

>TUE OCT 19 The Libertines w/ Radio 4 $15.00 9:30 Club - Amy

WED OCT 20 Elf Power, Justin Jones, Laura Tsaggaris, Phosphoescent, Velvet Lounge

MON OCT 25- PINBACK, MATES OF STATE, ASPECTS OF PHYSICS $14 Black Cat mainstage 8:30 - Chris?

TUE OCT 26 Bad Religion w/ Rise Against & From First to Last $20.00 9:30 Club

FRI NOV 5- WASHINGTON SOCIAL CLUB, TWO IF BY SEA $7 Black Cat mainstage 9:30

MON NOV 8 Muse $15.00 9:30 Club - SOLD OUT

TUE NOV 9 The Advantage, WAREHOUSE NEXTDOOR w/ tba

WED NOV 10- EL GUAPO, HORSES (ex-Black Eyes), ASOBI SEKSU $8 Black Cat mainstage 8:30

WED NOV 17 Badly Drawn Boy 9:30 Club, $20.00

WED NOV 24- SUFJAN STEVENS $10 Black Cat mainstage 8:30
WED NOV 24-The Donnas and the Von Bondies, $15 9:30 Club



THU, FRI DEC 2, 3 Magnetic Fields, $22.50, Birchmere 10:00 PM


so it's about damn time: DC has a baseball team. Unfortunately, we don't have Vlad Guerrero or Javier Vazquez, who left as free agents when MLB wouldn't let the team increase its payroll, but we have a team nonetheless. The Post has some great articles and a lousy one by Sally Jenkins who complains that stadiums have no economic benefit. I wrote her a letter telling her to look at Denver, where the area around the new stadium is booming thanks to investment and planning by the city, just as DC is planning on doing. Anyway, I'm going to go buy an Expos hat and wear it until we get a new name. I am liking Wilbon's argument for Grays, which is the old Negro League team in DC. The Greys were really good and had Josh Gibson, one of the greatest players ever (said to have hit 84 home runs in a season), and "Cool" Papa Bell, another great player with a great name. Senators would be ok too, Washington's major league team's name twice, or Nationals, another old name.


so this video is pretty hilarious, both because the dog looks ridiculous, and the fact that they try to draw some deeper meaning. I especially like the title, "Dog Walks on Only Two Legs, Teaches Others About Survival." Good stuff


I also found this funny site, http://www.googlewar.com/. Basically, you put in two things and it sees which gets the most results. For instance, I beat my roommate but your mom beats me.


so I think the hurricane names this year are messed up. For one thing, who spells it "Charley"? To me, the only Charley like that is a charleyhorse, the leg injury. And now there's Hurricane Jeanne, which all the news people are pronouncing it as "Jean." Look, if it's really pronounced "Jean," then spell it "Jean" and not something with silent letters. It was Hurricane Andrew, not Hurrican Androohe. And I know that back in Tennessee if your name is Jeanne then it's pronounced "Jeanie." I know they come up with these names beforehand and alternate sexes (Amy, Bill, Christine, Doug, etc) and every year has different names, but honestly, if you're going to name a hurricane, don't name it something that is wrong or confusing. How about Julie or Joyce or Jane, something that nobody can mix up. But then again, at least it's not Iniki.


so I really like the new Kanye West song, "Jesus Walks." It's good stuff. However, the line "Jesus walks with them" sounds like "Jesus what's for dinner?" which I thought was a pretty weird thing to say. Eventually I figured it out. See for yourself, here's the video



so stuff in the news is making me mad recently. Cat Stevens was deported today because he showed up on a government watch list, which is ridiculous. He converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam, but he wrote songs about peace and issued statements after 9-11 saying terror was not part of Islam. We re-released the obviously very inflammatory song "Peace Train" to protest the war in Iraq, but last time I checked, that was legal. An anonymous goverment person said they suspect he may have donated money to the guy who did the first World Trade Center bombing and also to Hamas, but I bet you if he weren't Muslim and his name was still Cat Stevens, he'd be in D.C. today.

A thorough Yahoo article

A not-as-thorough Post article

And furthermore, the Swift Boat Veterans have put out a new ad saying Kerry met secretly with North Vietnamese officials. It was secret, if your definition of secret means he told Congress during a public hearing. And he was visiting peace negotiations in order to research the war. It's probably not the best idea for him to have done, but still they are obviously trying to imply that he gave secrets to the Communists, which I think is ridiculous. Unfortunately, it seems like people don't like to hear the explanations Kerry gives about things he does.



so it's time for a political screed. This whole CBS Bush Guard documents thing has gotten out of control, I think. I agree that some of the documents do appear to be fake, since they're in a font not used back then, have superscripts which most typewriters don't have, etc. However, now everybody is focusing on this John Burkett guy, who was in the National Guard when Bush was (not the baseball player who just retired), and who the Washington Post describes as having "History of Problems and of Attacking Bush." He does seem like he's a little overzealous, but what really has pissed me off is the fact that other people mentioned in the documents have said that even if these documents are fake, everything in them is true. The media (that I've seen, at least) seem to be giving this fact little play and are debating more about CBS's apology and how they got the fake documents. In fact, the recent articles I have seen aren't mentioning the people saying the contents are true at all. This makes me think it might be some kind of brilliant Republican scam.

Maybe it sounds a little crazy, but what better way to avoid talking about the President's Guard service problems than putting out fake documents saying he didn't serve, and then proving they are fake? The Bush people can say "look, those documents are fake!" and carp about that while avoiding the bigger issue, which is what's happening now. It also gets your average Joe to think that maybe Bush did serve honorably and that CBS has a liberal bias, since they ran the story. The documents were pretty obviously fake, with the font and the superscript, and they were written a little strangely - they sounded angry, and who titles a memo to yourself "CYA" (for "cover your ass")?

I mean, the way I see it, it's either a somewhat-crazy Burkett who makes his own badly forged documents to try to help the Democrats by proving something we already know to be true, or it's a brilliant trick by some Republicans. The way the story is playing out almost seems too good to be true for the Republicans.

According to the Post, Burkett won't say who he got the documents from to protect that person, and that he got them a Texas livestock show from an unkown person. Maybe he is protecting a Republican who gave him the documents knowing they were fake. However, Burkett thinks the Republican might get in trouble for betraying his party, so he's not saying who it is. If it does come out who provided them, and it's a Republican, they can just fire the guy.

Anyway, here's a few Post articles about it:

"Rather Admits 'Mistake in Judgment'"

"Questions Surround Man Who Provided Documents"

"The Bloggers' Moment"

"CBS and Memo" online chat transcript


so I saw the Thrills again the other day, along with a band called the Zutons. It was an alright show, the Thrills were not as good as last time. The Thrills' lead singer, Conor Deasy, seems to have gotten cockier and more frontman-ish, making more grand movements and hand gestures, and the band wasn't as tight musically as the last show. They also played a lot of new stuff which didn't seem as catchy or fun as the first CD, which I love. It seemed like the fun was more forced, I guess. And a lot of their merchandise mentioned their apparently new single, "Whatever Happened to Corey Haim," which is really not that funny of an idea, I think. So that is kind of lame, it's as if they are trying to capitalize on that idea rather than the music. The Zutons were pretty enjoyable, although they sounded exactly like the Coral to me, both in the lead singer's voice and psychedelic/circusy instrumentation. It's interesting that both the Zutons (aged 20-23) and the Coral are made up of really young guys, maybe that leads them to be influenced by the same things. They put on a pretty good show though, and if you are interested check out their site, http://www.thezutons.co.uk/zuteconstruct/


So there’s this lady at my office who talks extremely loudly, she is unable to converse at a normal level. It’s pretty damn annoying, and she isn’t very old so I assume she isn’t going deaf. It’s especially irritating when she has to go to a cubicle next to me. For example, I have Daft Punk at full volume in my headphones right now and I can still hear every word about whatever it is she’s talking about. And usually it’s her whining about something and then being wrong about it. And it’s the worst when she’s on a speakerphone - it’s like she has a boombox, but instead of Run-DMC it's a guy talking about the tax code. I think I may do that myself, carry a boombox down the street blasting some debate about withholding. Holla! Form D-40EZ, what what!


so the phrase "I feel badly" bothers me. I hear people say it sometimes and now it's on TV a lot in a commercial for some new show called "Desparate Housewives" (which is not porn, even though it sounds like it). This guy says "you tried to kill me," and a woman, who I assume is a desparate housewife, says "And I feel badly about that." However, she is really saying "And I am not capable of feeling about that" or "And my sense of touch doesn't work about that." I assume people say "I feel badly" instead of "I feel bad" because they think it's proper grammar or makes them sound smart, but it ain't not right. (ha)

Badly is an adverb, meaning it modifies the verb, such as "I run quickly." How do you run? Quickly. So when you say "I feel badly," you are modifying the verb "feel." You are describing the manner in which you feel something, not describing your emotion. Does that make sense? You don't say "I feel angrily," right? If you say "I run badly" it means you aren't a good runner. So when you say "I feel badly," it means you aren't a good feeler.

Here's a page that gives an in-depth grammar reason for "I feel badly" being wrong


so one of the people in the cubicle next to mine is undercutting the vending machine. I think that's pretty funny, she has a big thing of candy and cookies and it's all cheaper. It's a good idea, smallish Snickers bars are 75 cents in the vending machine. It's supposedly for some charity, but I don't really care as I am cheap, and it's a gold mine anyway. I should go to Price Club and buy a ton of candy to sell and say it's for the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers or something. Then I will watch the VH1 rich celebrity shows and do what they do.

(in the fake-Robin Leach voice from those VH1 shows)
"When you want to stay at the best Hamptons beach hideaways like P. Diddy and J. Lo, first you must have money like P. Diddy and J. Lo! Andrew Wiseman got it by selling candy to his coworkers!"


so i was thinking: the phrase "eat your heart out" doesn't make any sense. i mean, since when does being embarassed or have somebody do better than you make somebody want to eat their heart? "gee, you are a better actor than I am, I'd better tear my heart out and eat it, rather than work to become a better actor," or whatever. but then again, the only place i ever see this phrase is in the news, as a headline or some kind of catchphrase.

I found this "origin" on a site that has origins of different idioms, but I am not convinced.

Heart is also defined as the central, core, or inner most part of an object (or person). To eat the heart out is to remove the core or most important part, a part that will surely be missed.
The phrase is probably a shortened way of saying "This will eat your heart out".
Adapted from the 16th century "eat one's own heart", meaning to suffer from silent grief or vexation. It also has roots in the Biblical phrase, "to eat one’s own flesh", used to describe an indolent person.
Thanks to Mike Pierce



So I am having some problems with the vending machine at work. The machine has ten slots, A1-A10, B1-B10, etc. but it’s weird because there are buttons 1-9 and then a “10” button that you have to hit for slot 10. However, I keep forgetting this, so whenever I want to get the Twix or whatever is in B10 I hit B then 1 and then 0, and end up with the shitty Andy Capps Hot Fries from B1. What is this, a Chinese keyboard? Why not just have 100 buttons, “B1” “B2” “B3” if you are going to make it that complicated. Or just a button that says what you are getting, like “Twix” or “shitty Andy Capps Hot Fries (don’t hit for Twix).”


so I went to see Camera Obscura yesterday at Iota in Clarendon, and it was a good show. I'd heard they sound a lot like Belle and Sebastian, but I didn't really think that was the case. I guess people think that because they are similar to Belle and Sebastian in appearance and stuff: they're also Scottish, they have a lot of band members, they play acoustic stuff and the organ, and their songs are pretty soft, but the music didn't sound much like them. Anyway, it was a good show, and I recommend checking them out. And their new album is called "Underachievers Please Try Harder," which I think is a pretty great title. And Iota is a pretty neat little venue, except I got in trouble because I tried to put my beer on my friend's tab, but her tab was at the other bar, so they came and found me and made me pay. Weird, you'd think a tab could be used at either bar inside the place. Oh well.


so i complain about spam a lot and how stupid it is. i just found this great site called "Spamusement," which is cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines. it's pretty hilarious.



so this is mainly for me, it's my list of concerts i want to go to, because i always forget them.

X Th July 29, Measles Mumps Rubella, warehouse next door

Sat July 31, Assrockers, Velvet Lounge - free beer

X Mon Aug 2, Camera Obscura, $12, Iota

X MON AUG 16- ELEFANT, AMBULANCE LTD., ELKLAND $10 Black Cat mainstage 8:30

Sat Aug 21- Enon, El Guapo, Warehouse next door

SUN AUG 22- MAE, THE WORKING TITLE, WAKING ASHLAND $10 Black Cat mainstage 8:30

TUE AUG 24- Further Seems Forever w/ The Kicks • Brandston • Salem 7pm Doors $12.00 9:30 Club (I'm only going to see the Kicks, people.)


THUR SEPT 9- LES SAVY FAV, DETACHMENT KIT $12 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat

SAT SEP 11, Guided By Voices w/ Tommy Keene $20.00 9:30 Club

>SAT SEPT 18- THE THRILLS, THE ZUTONS $14 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat

SUN SEP 26, Old 97's w/ Chuck Prophet $20.00, 9:30 Club

TUES SEPT 28 Keane w/ French Kicks Presented by 99.1 WHFS. 7pm Doors $15.00 9:30 Club

WED SEPT 29- RJD2, DIPLO (of Hollertronics) $12 Black Cat mainstage 8:30



>TUE OCT 12 Camper van Beethoven $20.00 930 Club

>SUN OCT 17 The Faint w/ TV on the Radio & Beep Beep $15.00 9:30 Club

>TUE OCT 19 The Libertines w/ Radio 4 $15.00 9:30 Club

So I found a bunch of cool new videos on Yahoo Launch, check em out:

Chromeo, a NY hipster-type 80s electronic funk group. The video is really funny: http://search.launch.yahoo.com/search/lsearch/all?p=chromeo

The Thrills, the Irish band I reviewed earlier. Big Sur is a pretty amusing video, haven’t seen the other one yet (I’m at work and trying to be stealthy):

Here’s about 800 Beastie Boys videos, which are usually hilarious. Triple Trouble at the bottom is a new one, with my favorite legendary monster, Sasquatch:


So what I think is funny and stupid is commercials that edit songs so they sound like the opposite of their actual meaning. The first time I noticed this was “American Woman” by the Guess Who, which was used in an ad for Tommy Hilfiger or American Eagle or something like that. The song is a protest song from the Vietnam era against the U. S., but it was edited so it sounded like it was glorifying American women. Then there was another Tommy Hilfiger commercial that edited “Fortunate Son” by CCR, which is about the sons of rich and powerful people avoiding Vietnam, to sound like it was a patriotic song. They only played “some folks are born, made to raise the flag, oooh that red white and blue,” but they edited out the next line of the song, “And when the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief’ They point the cannon right at you,” as well as all of the draft-dodging stuff. I assume bands do this solely for the money, or maybe they lost control of the rights to their songs, but I think it really sucks, both that the song is being used for basically the opposite of what it means, and that ad people assume we don’t know what the song is about. Either that or the ad people are bad listeners and only notice the very brief parts that they can use, which would not surprise me. Recently, I saw an ad for a cruise or something with Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,” which I am pretty sure is about drug addiction, and a car commercial which took one line from the Dandy Warhols' “Bohemian Like You,” which is a sarcastic song that makes fun of young people who are trying to be cool bohemians. Neither of which are things that people selling stuff would want to be associated with, you would think. “Hey, if you guy this car you are a poser! Come on this cruise and do heroin!” But I guess it’s easier to cut up a song by an actual band than to make a catchy song yourself.


so I found a couple of cool websites. the first is an awesome video of a guy playing Mario Brothers music on the piano.


the other is a funny blog called 8th Pres in Da House, a guy pretending to be Martin Van Buren coming back to life and talking about funny crap.



so the Washington Post is doing this long series of articles about bringing baseball to DC, specifically how MLB is stalling and how the organization works. it pisses me off that they aren't doing anything about bringing a team here, so I found Bud Selig's (the stupid commissioner) office address and phone and I'm going to call and write him, and I urge anybody else interested to do the same thing

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167
Phone: (212) 931-7800

unfortunately (and wisely, for him) i didn't find his email address


so I gotta say, I think Boca Raton, Florida is probably the worst name for a town ever: it means Rat Mouth. The only worse name for a town I can think of is Asno Raton, which means rat ass. Seriously, how did they come up with this name?

Ponce De Leon: "OK guys, we need to name this town something. We've already used up all the best saint names. Have you seen anything in the area? Like maybe a disgusting and universally hated animal that spreads the plague?"

First Mate Juan: "I saw a rat."

Ponce de Leon: "What was it doing?"

Juan: "Eating some garbage."

Ponce de Leon: "Ok, let's call the town Eating Rat."

Juan: "But then people might think the residents of that town eat rats."

Ponce de Leon: "Good point. How about Rat Mouth?"

Juan: "Sounds good!"

Maybe Ponce de Leon was eating too much lead or something. I think they packed their food in lead cans back in the day.


so i was talking to my roommate the other day: why don't women have Juniors? As in, Jessica Simpson, Jr., for instance, whose mom would be named Jessica Simpson, Sr. We figured it was because women could take their husbands' last names, but still, it would be funny. Jessica Simpson III.


so the guy at Quizno's on P Street here in town is so surly it's funny. he's pretty young i guess and acts like he's pissed that he has to make sandwiches for people. I came in today and ordered something and he sneered "white or wheat bread?" like I had just told him i had sex with his girlfriend. it's kind of funny.


so i thought this was pretty fun, it's a little site where you can make beats with the crocodile hunter's voice and some animal sounds. it's fun for a few minutes

DJ Crikey


so continuining in the "someday, everything will be a competition" vein, I heard about a webiste for the a World Rock-Paper-Scissors Society. i remember hearing about it on NPR awhile ago and thinking it was dumb, but i was playing at work the other day and I used some strategy and won like 4 games in a row. or maybe it was just luck. what's strange about this website is that it claims the group has been around for 160 years, and the front page has congratulations to some girl who won the Southwest Pro-Am invitiational. Since pro-am means a tournament between professionals and amateurs (like the golf tourneys with Bill Murray and stuff), does this mean there are "professional" rock-paper-scissors players??? I find this bizarre. Well i'm a professional Tecmo Bowl player. give me some money!


so George Tenet, the director of the CIA resigned yesterday, which is pretty big news. nobody is really sure why, if it's because he failed, because he's protesting the Bush administration's handling of the Ahmed Chalabi thing (the Iraqi guy who gave the US false information about WMD, which was one of the justificiations for the war, and who then gave US secrets to Iran, who Tenet thought was a fraud all along), or what. But what struck me was the President's speech about his resignation. It was probably one of the worst speeches I've ever seen. There are bizarre pauses and nothing he says sounds like he really feels that way. It sounded really hollow. It almost made me think that it was a message, like "he's resigning, and I don't care."

Here is a video of the speech. It's short.



so i know i mentioned Launch radio earlier, the Yahoo internet radio thing that is really cool. They also show videos though, which is awesome, they have tons of them and very good picture quality and you don't have to download anything. and it's free! some new ones that I recommend are "pony ride" by bumblebeez 81, "walkie talkie man" by steriogram, and the new beastie boys video, "ch-check it out". they also have a lot of other beastie boys videos. to find them, type the name of the band in the little search bar on this page, then click videos under the band's name. unfortunately, it doesn't have any fatboy slim or daft punk videos, which is too bad, because they are all great.


so i keep getting the stupidest spam. luckily my filter gets most of it, but i still can't understand how people would open this stuff. For one thing, they are always from bizarre random names, like Winfred Taitague or Hilda Nesby. "Ooh, Uncle Winfred wrote me a letter!" What are the odds that any of those names will be recognizable to anybody? It sounds like the Belgian Embassy staff or something. And now they've started to try to avoid the spam filters by having really bizarre subjects, like "disambiguate Ci@lis". Is that really a good sales pitch? Even if I were looking for Cialis, I probably wouldn't click on it if it had an @ symbol instead of an A, and I have no clue what disambiguate means. It sounds like it'll make something fall off, which I think is the opposite of what Cialis does. When i looked it up, it means "state unambiguously or remove ambiguities from." Which is kind of funny, considering what it's attached to.

And then there are the spams with ... in between words, which make the subjects sound like someone doing a William Shatner impression, "Look..younger Be..more Active." I can hear Shatner saying that. However, the divisions of words sometimes make the subject mean the opposite, such as "Bigger..larger in 30days..or Less." I assume this is supposed to mean you can get a bigger ding-dong in 30 days or less, but the way it's written, it looks like you can either "get a bigger ding dong in 30 days, or maybe a smaller one." I mean, i guess there's no smart way to make spam, except for maybe random normal names "Steve Jones" rather than bizarro ones like "Marlana Knapko" and have subjects that have good grammar and no misspellings. Or maybe mention stuff I like in them. I would click "Beer from all over the world!" for example, or "I saw your resume on Hotjobs," since I, and probably lots of other folks, have a resume on there. Of course, you might get sued if you used a company name like that, but I think it's pretty clear that spammers don't care for the law much anyway. Otherwise they wouldn't be sending me emails for their products, they'd be selling them in stores.


so i just discovered that it's not always the best thing to look at Friendster at work. one of my coworkers from my other job added me, so i clicked her profile and the first thing I saw was a picture of a girl in a bathtub. I don't mind that per se, but it might be a little odd if one of the lame dudes at work saw it.

"Hey Andrew, I need you to-- What are you looking at!?"
"N-nothing boss. Just my friend in the bathtub."

But luckily nobody was walking by or anything. Next, I decided that it'd be funny if I added Brian Fellows as my friend, as in Tracy Morgan from the SNL sketch: "I'm Brian Fellows! That bird is a liar!" I typed in Brian Fellows and the first picture that popped up was a picture of a guy's penis. so i think I will stick to using friendster at home.


so i was thinking: what's a sesame? i know what a sesame seed is, but what does that seed grow? i've never seen or even heard of a sesame plant. I wonder why. maybe it looks like a boulder in front of a cave and moves when you talk to it.

(get it, open sesame)


so i went to a concert yesterday, The Thrills and Ambulance Ltd. I went to see the Thrills, I have their CD and I really like it (there's a review down the page somewhere), but both bands were excellent. I'd never heard of Ambulance Ltd before but I really liked them, and I would have bought their CD if they hadn't already sold out. They sound sort of like Teenage Fanclub, melodic fuzzy rock, good stuff. Everybody should check them out. The Thrills were also really good in concert, though I was disappointed that they didn't have a banjo player, because lots of their songs have a banjo on them. They did have one of the guitars tuned to sound kind of like a banjo though, which was still cool. I saw the lead singer in the bar downstairs after the show and talked to him a bit, which was pretty neat, he was a nice dude, and he said the reason they didn't have one was that it would be hard to hear, which makes sense. And I still really enjoyed the show anyway. They played all the songs I liked and some new ones that I hadn't heard that were good, and it was the most excited I had been at a concert in a long time. Some guy next to me said "you are liking it huh" and gave me a fist bash, or whatever when you hit your fists together. So anyway, I urge you to check both of these bands out if they come to your 'hood.


so i read this article on Yahoo the other day. It says that the U.S. is going to send some troops from the North Korea border to Iraq. It was interesting because the day before there was an editorial in the Washington Post by John McCain and Joe Lieberman saying just that, that we should move troops from other places and send them to Iraq. I agree with them, I think if we're not going to leave, we need more troops over there, and we might as well take them from Korea, where they're just sitting around. We needed more troops about a year ago, but now that we're in a big mess, I think more would be good to protect what we've already got over there. It's interesting that the government did this the day after this bipartisan editorial, maybe they're trying to placate McCain so he doesn't become Kerry's running mate or vote against them on stuff, since that's what he usually does.

But what I really thought was interesting about the Yahoo article was the Pentagon spokesperson's name: Flex Plexico. That's the most ridiculous name ever. I can't tell if it sounds more like a superhero or a plastic manufacturer. Save us, Flex Plexico! Then I can go to my job making Saran Wrap at the Flex Plexico factory down on Industrial Park Blvd.


so I think I have uncovered a diabolical plot to fund terrorism. All over the halls at my work, on the elevators, and on bulletin boards there are announcements for lots of events, like people's retirement dinners, baby showers, promotion parties, etc, and they all cost money. I've been working here about 10 months and I've never heard of any of these people, and there's a new one every week. First off, it's crazy that our workplace is that eventful. It's like the Bartlett administration on "The West Wing", some once-in-a-lifetime occasion happens every week. Plus our building has 9 floors, and these announcements are posted on every floor - I doubt these supposed employees go to every floor of our building. And furthermore, why do these events all cost money? Some of them are 40 bucks! that's a lot of dough. If 20 people come to this thing, times 40 bucks, that's 800 dollars! does it really cost 800 dollars to get a caterer to make some pasta or dry chicken for 20 people? I think not. I've been to company parties and stuff and I've been better off bringing my own food. I better contact Rumsfeld, quick.


so my new favorite thing is to find weird news articles or photos and send them to my roommate with some message about his dad. like i found a picture of Urkel holding the NBA championship trophy and sent it to him saying "wow, your dad really does interesting stuff" or something like that, and then i sent him a picture of a guy with nails in his head, "you dad sure is unlucky!" today i was looking through news of the weird-type stuff on yahoo and found an article about Singapore offering maps to the best public toilets in the city, and it quoted a guy who ran the World Toilet Organization. What a shitty job! ha!! really though, how does one acquire that job? "Well I've been to the bathroom many times in my life, and I have always been interested in toilets and bringing together people from around the world to talk about them." The article also included the council's website, which is funny, because it so seriously deals with toilets.

The news article

World Toilet Organization

My favorite part of the website: there's a world conference in Beijing in November where they say you can meet the "MOVERS & SHAKERS" of the toilet industry!! what a great web site.


so I saw "Envy" last night and i was disappointed. It's the movie with TV ads out now with Jack Black and Ben Stiller. Black invents a spray that makes dog poo disappear and Stiller, his neighbor and best friend, gets jealous. It's a funny idea and has funny stars, but it wasn't that great of a movie, I would say it was "amusing" more than funny. there were some amusing parts and some pretty funny images, like a horse running through Stiller's lawn, tons of telephone and high-voltage wires over his little crummy house, and Jack Black's weird clothes, but nothing was laugh-out-loud hilarious. And considering it was directed by Barry Levinson, who did movies like "Wag the Dog" and "Rain Man" and "Good Morning Vietnam" and it was produced by Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld, it had me thinking it'd be really funny. It seemed like it was rushed or something, I saw the boom microphone a couple times in the shot and some of the storylines just sort of trailed off such as (warning, skip this part and go to the next paragraph if you don't want it to be ruined) people always ask "where does the poo go?" but the question is never answered.

The movie reminded me of "Head of State", the movie where Chris Rock runs for president with Bernie Mac as his running mate. Again, two funny guys, but not that funny of a movie.


so i'm sitting at my desk listening to this tool contractor from accenture say all this cliche corporate-speak crap. it's bizarre, I didn't think people actually existed who talked like this outside of TV commercials, and it's apparent the guy is really into it too. which is weird, because if he's at my office he can't have that high of a position. anyway, he's talking to some new employee of accenture about how great the company is, how he's "on the ground level" and "the sky's the limit," and profits are up and "we're playing the big boys now, IBM, Microsoft" etc etc. It's kind of surreal, like how did I get to this point? I expect him to give the new employee a poster of a crew team or a flying plane or something, you know, the ones with the black background and "TEAMWORK" or "MOTIVATION" or whatever underneath. weird.


So I got The Thrills' debut album, "So Much For the City", and it's excellent. I figured I'd write a review, sort of to practice if I want to write reviews in the future:

The Thrills are an Irish band with a thing for California. The fivesome's debut album, "So Much for the City," sounds a lot like early 60's pop music, especially the Beatles or the Monkees, with a healthy dose of modern-day California thrown in. The songs are well-crafted pop with frequent Beach Boys-style harmonies, catchy choruses and a mostly optimistic, sunny viewpoint. The CD is almost a tour of California, both geographically and of the Golden State's rock music. Like many Beach Boys songs, most of the songs either mention or are about some location in California, like "Big Sur," "Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)," "Hollywood Kids," and the choruses of others, and The Thrills even sing part of the chorus of "Hey Hey We're the Monkees," replacing the "we" with "you." It's hard to tell if the reference is tongue-in-cheek or actually references a love for the music, or a little of both. The song "Big Sur," one of their singles, is excellent. It's up-tempo, like many songs on the album, and is very catchy and happy sounding but not corny or cliche. A rolling banjo plays a big role, and helps add to the song's laid back, sunny vibe. Lead singer Conor Deasy's voice is reminiscent of Jason Lytle, the lead singer of Grandaddy, mixed with the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Stephen Malkmus of Pavement. It's high, almost falsetto, though it's soft and whispery at times, especially on slower songs like "Travelling Through" and "Deckchairs and Cigarettes" (which, as usual, mentions going to San Diego while adding the sounds of waves and seagulls).

The band also reminds me of Pavement and Grandaddy with the same easy-going vibe, sometimes self-referential lyrics, a sense of place, and mentions of dead-end jobs ("I can't see you smiling pumping gas" on the Thrills' unnamed last track compared with Grandaddy's songs about work orders and supermarkets and Pavement's about minor league baseball players.) Interestingly, both Pavement (Stockton, CA) and Grandaddy (Modesto, CA) are from agricultural cities in California's Central Valley, and both cities are far from the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and San Diego. That distance, or maybe life in the valley itself, seems to temper both bands' songs, leading to introspection and interest in the subtleties of everyday life, which The Thrills also deal with. However, most of the songs on "So Much for the City" (which is also the first line of "Big Sur") are much more linear and less experimental than those of Pavement and are happier than most Grandaddy songs. It's tempting to say this is a concept album about California, that maybe the title "So Much for the City" is a dig at New York City in favor of California, or that The Thrills are a California band who just happen to come from Ireland, being that pretty much all of their songs are about the Golden State. Or maybe the band just wants to reflect a love of California and its rock music.

The main difference from the California strain is that "Santa Cruz," "Big Sur" and other songs involve a banjo as one of the main instruments. It seems like a lot of English and Irish rock bands, such as Coldplay and Travis and the Thrills, use the banjo, a traditional Irish instrument which was brought to the U. S. by immigrants. Most American rock bands avoid the instrument, maybe because of the hillbilly/Deliverance connotations. In fact, there aren't many American rock bands since 1990 or so that have used one, besides Beck occasionally. But it fits in well on these songs, adding both to the happy feeling on the sunnier songs and a somber feeling on the slower, sadder songs. It's one of the few connections with Ireland on the disc besides Deasy's occasional accent, which is hard to place anyway.

In any case, "So Much for the City" is an excellent debut album with really no weak tracks and some that are magnificent. With such a focus on California, it's hard to say what the Thrills may do on their next album (maybe they'll move up the coast and write about Oregon,) but this album should be on many best of the year lists. The Thrills play May 22 at the Black Cat in DC.


so i was watching ESPN tonight, at 2 am, and they were showing riding lawnmower racing. first off, i didn't know that existed. second, why is it on tv? i'd rather watch ping pong or something. but at least it's not poker, i guess. and third, how does a person become a lawnmower racer? these guys were organized, they had sponsors and stuff. i mean, i've seen lawnmower drill teams at parades and stuff as a joke, but racing? and furthermore, where do they find commentators for these shows? do they put ads out in riding lawnmower magazines? maybe there's an espn dreamjob show for riding lawnmower racing. it seems like some day everything will be a sport. they already have adult kickball, professional eating, waiter competitions, air guitar contests, karaoke championships, and races on beds. what's next? will there be fastest fucking contests? teeth-brushing? pooping? i would do alright at some of those, but better at a beer bottle collection contest.


So I was about to write about how much I liked Yahoo’s Launch radio. It’s sort of like the Netscape Radio I talk about sometimes, but you can customize your own station and add bands to a "never play again" list (like Creed and Dashboard Confessional, to use my list), and it’ll also play bands that other people who like your bands recommend. I’ve heard good old stuff and good stuff I’ve never heard before on there, like new Cypress Hill (it’s good, honestly) and other cool songs, like old Gang Starr, new Chemical Brothers, etc, so I was liking it.

The sound quality is not as good as Netscape, and it can take some work to build up a good playlist on your station because you have to surf around other stations and find stuff you like, or you’ll be hearing the same things over and over. And the names of the preprogrammed stations are weird too, like the "Soft Rock" station is actually pretty good, despite the bad name, they played the Cure and John Lennon and other good stuff. And "Alternative" is terrible, it's all those shitty bands like Trapt and Mest and Puddle of Mudd that spell their names wrong. I hit "don’t play again" on the first 5 songs and went somewhere else. You can skip 5 songs an hour too, which is cool.

Unfortunately, there’s a limit on the number of songs you can hear per month, 400, and after 3 days I reached it so I can only hear the preprogrammed channels and not my station. Which sort of sucks, but it’s still a pretty good radio thing. I’d highly recommend it if they didn’t have the limit. But I am thinking of subscribing to the premium version anyway, because I like it a lot, and it gives you better sound quality and no ads or limits and I like being able to put on "My Station" and not have to skip a lot of stuff. You can check out My Station here to give you an idea of what it's like.


So I went to the bathroom on another floor today because ours was full, and man, it smelled terrible! I mean, bathrooms usually stink, but this one smelled like the zoo. I don’t know what those 7th floor people are eating, or if they brought their pet giraffes in or what, but it was revolting. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but it didn’t smell like something a person could do. It was weird.


so I'm listening to CDs at work, and I think everybody should check out the Mull Historical Society, the cd Loss is really good. I heard one of their songs, "Public Service Announcer" on Netscape radio back in the day, and when the local cd store was closing I got the CD on sale. It's really good, well-done, catchy, rock-pop type songs. My favorites so far are "Public Service Announcer," "Watching Xanadu," and "This Is Not Who We Were."

some info about the band


so people bring candy to work sometimes, and it got me thinking, what’s with Krackel and Mr. Goodbar? You know, the little chocolates that come in the bag of Hershey’s Miniatures. There's the little regular Hershey’s chocolate, the Special Dark, Mr. Goodbar, and Krackel. But I’ve never seen Mr. Goodbar or Krackel anywhere else, you never see a full size Krackel in the checkout at the grocery store. I wonder why? I think I’m going to write them a letter asking why. Well, it looks like I have to call them, so I’ll post the phone call when I make it. I mean, I think Mr. Goodbar is pretty good. It’s just peanuts, but I like it. Krackel is just a Crunch ripoff, though I think the Krackel’s chocolate is a little better. Crunch always tastes chemically to me.

And looking around for info on it on the net, I found this personality test using the Herhsey’s miniatures. It’s really funny, it’s written to sound scientific, but I think it’s just a joke.
The Hershey's Miniatures Personality Test