so call me a hipster, but I saw the Arcade Fire yesterday at the sold-out 930 Club, and they were excellent, they lived up to the hype completely (they are supposedly the most-blogged about band of the year). There were about 10 people on stage, and they were energetic and occasionally cheesy in an endearing way, doing overly dramatic movements and stuff like that. I went with Rae, who thankfully had an extra ticket, since it sold out long ago. (Rae's blog post on the band was linked from DCist too, so she's famous now.)

I enjoyed all the songs, even the ones I hadn't heard, which was most of them. It seemed like the crowd was younger, high school to college age, but we stood on the upper end area almost over the stage and got a great view. My favorite part of the show was when two of the guys put on motorcycle helmets and started drumming on each other and everything around them, it kind of reminded me of Daft Punk. Really they entire band are all good performers, so it was pretty impressive. I could watch any of them at any time during the show and be entertained.

The opening act was pretty awesome too, it was called Final Fantasy (I assume like the video game). It was only one guy, one of the violinists from the Arcade Fire, and basically it just him and a violin. It was pretty interesting though, he'd record himself playing, plucking, or thumping the violin, then loop whatever he just recorded, then record some more stuff, loop that, and so on, building up a wall of sound, and then he'd sing over it. I couldn't understand most of his lyrics, but the music was awesome and I immediately went to buy a CD, but unfortunately he only made a limited number and they sold out.

The aforementioned Rae has links to mp3s and photos she took of both bands, and I'll post some of mine soon.
so here are a couple photos of the Arcade Fire show. They're kind of blurry, but my camera phone doesn't take great photos when it's dark. Rae has some better ones on her blog.


so speaking of music, DCist reports that NPR will be broadcasting the sold-out Bright Eyes concert tomorrow, and it will be archived so you can hear it later.
so I've been talking about music lot recently and I thought I'd talk about the internet radio stations I've been listening to. I mentioned Yahoo Launch before, but it's a pretty great service, you rank bands and songs and then Yahoo will play bands and songs that are liked by people who like those songs (if that makes sense.) For example, if I say I like Daft Punk a lot, then it will play stuff that other people who like Daft Punk like (such as Air, Phoenix, Chemical Brothers, etc). Anyway, Launch has let me hear lots of bands that are getting buzz, old stuff I'd forgotten about, and lots of cool music I've never heard before, like Tyko, Head of Femur, 2Mex and Pink Grease (mentioned below). My station is at this link if you want to listen. It's mostly indie, classic rock, rap and some electronica.

When I'm looking for newer music, I check out two real radio stations that are online, WOXY, an Ohio station, and Indie 103.1. The only problem with these stations is that you can't skip songs like you can in Yahoo (obviously, since it's the radio). And the DJs are 103.1 are often famous people, which can be good and bad, because they know a lot about music, but often aren't the best broadcasters because they ramble or hit the wrong button or whatever.


so I heard a few songs by a band called Pink Grease on Yahoo Launch, and I have to say they are awesome. They're English apparently, and they play scuzzy, catchy, funny garage rock, and it's well produced. Pretty much all the songs are about sex and are very funny. They remind me of the Assrockers (a DC band with similar subject matter). Anyway, check out Pink Grease's site and their songs, under "Downloads." My favorite songs are Peaches, Strip, the Nasty Show, High Strung Chironi, and Superfool, but honestly they are all good. They sound like they'd be awesome in concert too.
so I found this on dcist, it's a blog entry about "maximum Starbucks density," that is, how many Starbucks are within 5 miles of your house. I have 69. heh heh. And it turns out there are also 43 CVS stores within 5 miles of my place too. I thought it would be more.


so there's some pretty messed up news today. Hot 97, the big New York City hip hop radio station, played a really racist song making fun of the tsunami. Some lyrics include

"..All at once you could hear the screaming chinks
and no one was safe from the wave
there were africans drowning, little chinamen swept away
you could hear god laughing, "swim you bitches swim"
So now you're screwed, it's the Tsunami
you better run or kiss your ass away, go find your mommy
I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head
and now the children will be sold to child slavery..."

(pasted from here). There's also a lot of news on this on http://www.hiphopmusic.com. I can't believe anyone would find this amusing or that any of the bosses would think it wasn't offensive and pointless.

Update - apparently the station suspended the show indefinitely. The funny thing about that article is that the statement was issued by Lizzie Grubman, who once purposely backed an SUV over 15 people at a club. Birds of a feather I guess.

And then today it came out that apparently some guys at the NIH tried to fire a whistleblower who said some AIDS research was being done shoddily, even though right before that he got a bonus for doing a good job. Pretty ridiculous.
so mostly so I don't forget anything, here is my most recent list of concerts I want to see. I've included a little blurb about them all, if anybody wants to go, email me!

MON JAN 31- THE BRAVERY $7 backstage 9:00 Black Cat POSTPONED! Now playing with Ash on March 13!

Fri Feb 4- "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- showcase for the many awesome college improv troupes in the area. 7:30 DCAC

SAT FEB 5 - Kings of Convenience $16 IOTA
an awesome, mostly acoustic band from Norway.

Sat Feb 19 - Mary Timony, Panoply Academy, Horses, Edie Sedgwick 9:00 Warehouse Next Door
I hear Mary Timony is good from various friends.

TUE. FEB. 22 - Le Tigre w/ Lesbians on Ecstasy & Measles Mumps Rubella 930 Club $15.00
Le Tigre is cool, dunno lesbians, and I know a guy in MMR, who are a pretty kooky art-rock ish band.

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
Lots of bands, what I have heard was good.

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
Used to listen to Rachel's at work, they're slow and almost like a chamber quartet or whatever, and I've heard of Ida somewhere.

FRI MAR 4- Moving Units, Secret Machines, Autolux. 9:30 Club $15.
Moving Units are really cool, catchy, 80's-ish indie rock that moves my feet immediately. I've heard Secret Machines are good as well.

SAT MAR 5- AMBULANCE LTD, VHS OR BETA $12 Black Cat mainstage 9:30
Ambulance Ltd put on a very good show, and I have heard of VHS or Beta. I prefer DVD though.

THUR MAR 10- ASH, THE BRAVERY $13 Black Cat mainstage 8:30
Also awesome show, catchy loud rock stuff, sort of like more muscular Weezer. I have heard stuff about the Bravery, their show was cancelled and added to this one. cool.

FRI MAR 11 - Hot Hot Heat, 9:30 Club
Again, catchy loud rock, but more dance-y.

Fri Mar 25 - Enon 9:00, Warehouse Next Door
Heard a few songs, pretty interesting experimental indie rock.

MAR 26 - Fatboy Slim 9:30 Club

THUR MAR 31- RADIO 4, SUPERSYSTEM (formerly El Guapo) $10 mainstage 8:30
Heard a few Radio 4 songs, kind of Rapture-y, and El Guapo is good. Wonder why they changed their name?

Heard a couple Outrageous Cherry songs, kind of interesting. Cheap!


so this music site called Stereogum has a lot of cool new stuff on it. Beck and Daft Punk have albums coming out sometime soon, and there's a cool new Beck video linked on the site. There's also new Hot Hot Heat and New Order mp3s, but I am not terribly imrpessed my either. And finally, there's a link to 6 new Bright Eyes songs at MTV Italy of all places.

And in sort of other news, everything I've heard by Architecture in Helsinki has been excellent. They're sort of a catchier and more electronic Belle and Sebastian, if that means anything to anybody. Here's a few places to hear them.

New Mp3 on Fluxblog

Clips of the older cd on Amazon

And their own site
so I saw this article online the other day about the ethics of Bloggers and whether they ought to follow journalism rules about sources and fariness and stuff like that. Of course, I don't do that. I hear George W. Bush is gay. But the thing I really noticed in this article was this part:

"Zephyr Teachout, who was Dean's director of online organizing, likens it to crafting a constitution — not necessarily written as a formal code of conduct, but as a set of accepted norms."

That's great, but the guy's name is Zephyr Teachout? That's crazy. It sounds like a Kurt Vonnegut character or Sonic the Hedgehog's nemesis. And it seems like there are lots of guys with crazy names working as spokespeople recently, like my favorite, Commander Flex Plexico.

Maybe that's useful actually - I bet reporters are probably more apt to remember that Commander Flex Plexico called them than if Bob Williams or somebody with a plain name like that did.


so I thought the top part of this article by Howard Kurtz was pretty interesting, about major news organizations (as they say it on TV) like CBS giving short shrift to international stories. Some reasons given by editors include too many foreign names and the general public supposedly not knowing who different ethnic groups are (i.e. the Kurds).

In other news, I realized I don't know what a shrift is, so I looked it up. Apparently it's another word for confession at a church, so if you are given short shrift then you aren't fully confessed, or whatever they call it when the priest forgives your sins. Here's an article about the phrase. Interesting stuff.



Originally uploaded by squidpants.
so I have a new favorite graffiti artist, Borf. I used to like the guy (or girl, dunno which) who drew funny chicken heads all over Adams Morgan, but I haven't seen any new ones lately. Borf, however, has drawn his (or her) name all over my area of Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan. This one is on the bus stop on Irving near the Metro station. There's another one I like that just says "Borf" and the line of the F goes all the way to the sidewalk, which is funny.


so I read this article about the lead singer of Fuel saying "fucking" at a concert in honor of the inauguration. First off, I didn't know Fuel was still famous or anyone still liked them, but it's funny nonetheless. The concert was called "America's Future Rocks Today," and was put on by conservative folks I guess, as the Bush daughters and their dad were all there. However, it sounds like they tried to make the worst concert possible, because the bill is Hillary Duff, JoJo, Ruben Studdard, 3 Doors Down (probably the worst of the numbered bands), Fuel, and Ryan Cabrera, that doofus who hung around with Ashlee Simpson on her reality show. Honestly, besides adding Ashlee Simpson herself and Kenny G, I really cannot think of a worse possible concert lineup. If those "musical" acts are our future, I'm going to make myself deaf and move away.


so I was thinking about something or other today and Micro Machines came into my head. I had forgotten how cool they were and how much I loved those things. I used to play with them all the time, I had a bunch of city playsets, like a car wash and a gas station and some houses, and I'd to put them all together with a big Micro Machines airport and a big city thing and then I'd attack it with my Micro Machines tanks and planes and soldiers. It must have sucked for whoever lived in that city, considering it was getting invaded constantly. Plus the only restaurant I had was a fish and chips place, so they must have been fat. But anyway, after remembering more and more of the cool stuff I had, like an aircraft carrier, a train, and a Scud missile launcher, I decided to look online for Micro Machines stuff. I wasn't finding a lot, mostly Star Wars stuff and new sets where you can pimp cars and things like that. However, I did find a few cool things, like this video from some guy's blog showing his collection.

And then I found this, Micro Machines Museum, which has a lot of stuff I had forgotten about. It doesn't have some stuff I remember, but it's got a lot. I hope I still have all of mine, they might be worth something. Or I can at least put pictures of them online.
so I wonder if it's right to look down on somebody for not washing their hands after going to the bathroom. I went into the bathroom today and heard a flush from one of the stalls. Then a guy walked out of the stall and went straight out the door. I suppose it's possible he was just blowing his nose or something in the stall, but come on, man. That's how the plague got started. Well, maybe not the plague, but it's pretty disgusting.

And the Coke vending machine is broken too, and has been for about a week. Which sucks, because the Cokes are only 50 cents, but the one downstairs that works is 65 cents. It's a conspiracy.


so I saw this news article posted on Friendster, where you can be friends with Jumbo Slice. I think a good headline for it would be "How to defeat enemy troops? Make them gay, stinky."
so here's something funny/bizarro: this weatherman is nuts. watch.


and apprently it's not fake, as there are some news stories about him.
so call me a conspiracy theorist, but I'm not really buying this Abu Ghraib trail stuff, it seems to me like the guards on trial now are taking all the blame, when some should rest with the Army officers (mostly reservists, I think) in charge of the prison and/or the intelligence people who were stationed there. Charles Graner, the guy on trial now, is supposedly the ringleader of a lot of it, but his rank is a Specialist. That's a pretty low enlisted rank, and Lynndie England (the grinning woman in the photos) was a Private First Class, which is even lower. I mean I'm no military expert, but my dad was in the Air Force for 30 years and the impression I get is that people of those ranks don't do anything unless either officers tell them to or they are delegated to do it by higher enlisted people, who got their orders from officers. These guards, like Graner and England, obviously did some of the torturing, but it seems to me that the officers either told them to do it, were grossly negligent by not knowing this was going on, or intelligence people were telling the guards what do to and hiding it from the prison commanders. And the things they did were pretty much the most humiliating things you could do to Muslims, which makes me think that some serious thought went into it - i.e. by intelligence officers. Of course, people being able to run wild can probably think of awful torture methods pretty quickly, but I think there should be some sort of outside investigation into the intelligence officers and the prison commanders. It just doesn't make sense that some low-ranking enlisted people can do all of this awful stuff without anybody else knowing.


so I found a video of a good new Hot Hot Heat song thanks to Rae, who linked to something called Stereogum which I am going to check a lot more. I like it, it seems like it's half music news and half stuff about Lindsay Lohan. Not too shabby.
so motion detector toilets are dumb. The bathroom at work has some of those motion detector toilets, where if you walk away from it, it flushes. Unfortunately, one of the stalls has a loose door which swings back and forth whenever anyone walks by, triggering the motion detector over and over. It's really annoying. When I first was in there, I thought some asshole (no pun intended) was doing tons of courtesy flushes, maybe to tell everybody else that they should courtesy flush too. I was getting pissed off, it got to the point where I was going to yell "dude, we get it!" but then I noticed there weren't any feet in that stall. So I briefly entertained the thought that somebody was standing on the toilet, flushing over and over, or maybe there was a toilet ghost, but then I just figured the toilet was broken. Finally, a couple weeks later, I saw the door swinging after I walked by and heard the toilet flush over and over. So now I put a paper towel over the detector if I'm in there so it won't annoy me. It's kind of funny that nobody has ever gotten around to fixing it though. "Hmm, this toilet flushes 15 times when I'm in the bathroom. Oh well." But I guess the DC water authority can use all the money it can get, what with having to clean all the lead and chemicals out of the water.
so I just heard one of the folks a couple cubicles over say something stupid: "Maybe I'll ask my mom to pack two lunches every day." Your mom packs your lunch? Are you 12? This person is at least 30 and wasn't joking. Geez. I wonder if her lunch is a Hi-C Ecto Cooler juice box (or maybe Capri-Sun), a PB&J with the crusts cut off, some string cheese, and a pudding pack? Actually, that doesn't sound too bad. I'd add some cookies though.


so I wrote about the University of Hartford's 22-point performance against the mighty Terriers of Boston U. yesterday, but I just found this funny post called "22 teams that can beat the Hartford Hawks." It's from a good college basketball blog called the Mid-majority. The guy is going to go to 100 college basketball games this year, and I'm going to add the site to my links. Check it out.
so I found a pretty cool blog about t-shirts called preshrunk. It mentions some pretty cool sites, like toothpastefordinner, which is a funny name for a site, and basically the guys has my dream job. The guy who runs it makes funny shirts and power-pop songs. I like the one that says "If I had a dollar for every time I had 60 cents, I'd be Canada." Of course, when it comes to t-shirts, there's a thin line between funny and hipster. I also like cottonfactory, which has a lot of the shirts they sell at Urban Outfitters. My favorite there is the red one with the slice of pizza that says "Please don't eat me, I love you." Too bad it's 18 bucks. And 80stees is also cool.

In other news, Bob Marley's wife is exhuming his body to determine once and for all if he really smoked weed or not. No, she's actually going to rebury him in Ethiopia, his "spiritual resting place." Fair enough.


so I saw Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle last night, and it's very funny. I recommend it to anybody who hasn't seen it.

In other news, the University of Hartford's men's basketball team scored 22 points the other day against Boston University. That sucks. Hartford is a Division I school, And Boston U. is hardly a basketball powerhouse. It's good thing Hartford isn't playing Duke or anybody coming up. The article about it is pretty funny, there's some good lines. I looked at the school newspaper, which like my favorite Snow song is called "Informer," but it hasn't been updated since Dec. 9. Maybe they are too ashamed to write about the game. Or you know, they're on winter break or whatever.


so geography is cool. There's a lot of interesting geography-related articles in the news lately because of the tsunamis in Asia. People used to ask me "what do you study in geography class?" and I'd tell them about the various subjects. These articles talk about some diverse issues raised by the disaster.

The first one talks about the protective role of mangrove groves and coral reefs, both of which are being destroyed by development and pollution. Areas where the reefs and groves were in their natural state suffered the least devastation. A similar thing could be said about forests, hills, and grasslands, where leaving them in their natural state usually makes surrounding developed areas safer.

This second one talks about the changes to maps caused by the earthquake and tsunami, especially maritime hazards like new obstacles and changing water depths. There's going to have to be a huge effort to remap the ocean and shores in the area to make it safe for shipping, and I would not be surprised if there were a lot of shipwrecks. There's a lot of oil produced in the region too, and oil tanker spills could become a hazard. I feel like I'm back in class.

This third one is about an English girl who learned about tsunamis in school just before she went on vacation to Thailand with her family, and she realized what was happening and told people to head for the high ground, saving a lot of peoples' lives.

This last one talks about the reversion of the beaches to their natural state, which is sort of interesting but kind of short on analysis.

So how's that for geography? I'm thinking though that next time I tell somebody I'm a cartographer and they ask "what do you make maps of?" I'll answer "routes to your mom's house."
so I was reading this article on Yahoo about Richard Gere doing an ad urging Palestinians to vote. Apparently, not many Palestinians have heard of him. Doh. My favorite part of the article:

"I don't even know who the candidates are other than Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), let alone this Gere," Gaza soap factory worker Manar an-Najar told Reuters Wednesday.
"We don't need the Americans' intervention. We know who to elect. Not like them -- they elected a moron."


so I thought this news article was pretty funny: a guy is suing NBC because watching Fear Factor made him throw up. Besides being a wimp, it's very funny how poorly written the lawsuit is and how he will only do interviews if he's paid. Good stuff.
so apparently there are some female gangs in the DC area now. This article talks about them a bit (at the bottom of the article).

But I have to say, I think their names are about the least frightening gang names possible: X-Rated Hunniez, Knockout Honies, and Most Wanted Honeyz. First off, they need to have a conference and figure out a standard misspelling of "honies." But come on, Honies? Honies is not scary, it's stupid. I can't decide if those names sound more like something you'd see in a terrible 80s movie or if they were the
enemies in the Double Dragon video game. "Oh no! It's the Knockout Honies!" If you want to inspire fear with your gang, don't name it with words that old Southern ladies use, like honey or sweetie or baby. Honestly, the only way these gangs could sound be scary is if Mandy Moore were their leader. I would suggest they use the word "bitches" instead of the variations of "honies." X-Rated Bitches is a lot more sinister sounding. And anyway, I prefer my female gangs to be like the band the Donnas, who sing punk-ish songs about drinking beer and getting with dudes.


so Alberto Gonzales, the Bush nominee for Attorney General who wrote the memo saying that torturing prisoners does not violate international or U.S. law, says he "plans to promise to abide by the government's non-torture policies," if he is confirmed. This is shocking! The attorney general plans to obey U.S. and international law?! He deserves a Nobel Prize immediately. It's pretty sad that he has to declare that. It's very funny, however, that he "plans to promise to abide by" the law, which is about the least definite way of saying you're going to do something that I can think of. And really, I think having to say "I won't advocate breaking the law again," is a pretty good reason not to make someone Attorney General, but maybe that's just me.

And in other news, Ashlee Simpson was booed after her Orange Bowl performance, which is pretty cool. Acid Reflux has some serious side effects.
so I saw this video at gwhoops.com the GW basketball message board, and thought it was pretty hilarious. It's a band member ringing a bell, but it looks like he's doing something else. good stuff.

so i decided to change my template, the fruit were getting old and mealy. any thoughts about this one?


so the Anaheim Angels baseball club is changing its name. Normally I would not care about this, but the new name is the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim," which is stupid. Apparently the team wants to change it to Los Angeles, but in order to use their stadium, which is in Anaheim, the team has to have "Anaheim" in their name. So they changed it to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and became instantly retarded. Pick a place, ok? And it's too much to say, it makes me tired. Can you imagine the announcers at the game? "Yooouuurrr Los Angeleeeees Angelssss oooooof Anaheimmmmmm!!!!" Uh, yay. I mean, why not make it the Phoenix Cardinals of Arizona and the Denver Rockies of Colorado while you're at it. The New England Patriots of Foxboro. The San Francisco Warriors of Oakland, Which Is In The Golden State.
so I was goofing around online, looking up "Taprobane," an ancient name for Sri Lanka (maybe, or maybe a mythical island), after I read this article by a really snooty sounding Post writer who was in the tsunami in Sri Lanka. I don't like it when news writers talk about their kids, especially his smart daughter and the moving song she wrote. That is lame.

Anyway, I found that there is a Latin version of the Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anybody can update. I thought this was pretty bizarre, you wouldn't think there was much use for a Latin encyclopedia. I guess if the Pope needs to look something up.

In other news, I am ABC's Person of the Year. Sweet.



Originally uploaded by squidpants.
so on the way back to Tennessee for Christmas, we stopped at a gas station somewhere in rural Virginia, and this vending machine was in the bathroom along with the condom machine. I dunno, but I don't think people buying sex toys out of vending machines at gas stations are really that concerned with world politics.