4/28/2006

so I like to think about cat and dog names. I've been thinking about them a lot recently because my pal got a cat and was asking for names, so I decided to send her some. Mostly I tried to think of stuff that would make me laugh, like Stinky, Killer, Burger, Taco and so on. Then I thought "Fluffy" would be a good name for really hideous cat (or dog) like Sam, the world's ugliest dog, or Killer for a really small and cute cat. My pal didn't like those though, and she named it Juniper Brontosaurus Sassypants Jones. Brontosaurus was one of mine too actually. It got me thinking though, a lot of girls I know give their pets really long names - I wonder why? Cats especially, but some dogs also. Then I was talking with her about names and realized that inanimate objects make hilarious names. Like Phone. It's so stupid. "Hi, this is my dog, Phone." "Your dog's name is Phone??" "Yeah." Or Couch or Soap. Stinky is good too, however. And Et Cetera. And Retard. A dog named Retard. I guess that last one is offensive, but still makes me have to muffle my laughter since I'm at work.
so I was reading DCist.com and there was a review of the Strokes concert at DAR. One of the commenters said he had a story about Julian Casablancas (the lead singer), so I went over to read it. It's very funny and odd, I highly recommend. And it has a cameraphone picture. I like it.

4/27/2006

so here's my most recent concert list. some good stuff coming up, especially at the Black Cat.

THURS APR 27, ELF POWER W/ THE INSTRUMENTS W/ IKE 9:00PM $12 Iota. Elf Power are an Elephant 6 band (a group of bands from Athens, GA, who are generally poppy and somewhat psychedlic) who I saw a little while ago at the Warehouse Next Door. they were good. psychedelic, somewhat kooky indie rock

SAT. MAY. 6 PHOENIX $15.00 930 Club
Phoenix is a cool French band, they did some songs on the soundtrack of "Lost in Translation" and such.

FRI MAY 12- PINBACK $15 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat.
Pinback are what is sometimes called laptop indie, which means sort of introspective stuff with some electronic bits, I guess. I think one guy does all the music. It's pretty cool and delicate stuff but a lot of the songs build in intensity. Check out "Fortress" on their myspace page and Lyon from their website.

SUN MAY 14- MICHAEL SHOWALTER, EUGENE MIRMAN, LEO ALLEN $10 Adv/ $12 DOS 8:30 Black Cat. Comedian dudes, Michael Showalter was in the State and Eugene Mirman did the funny video about sex I posted awhile ago

MON MAY 15- PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, GIANT DRAG $13 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
The confident girl supershow. Giant Drag is a cool two-piece, and I have a thing for Annie, the singer and guitarist. They're pretty funny - they have songs like "Kevin is Gay", "My Dick Sux," and "You're Full Of Shit (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)" and on their myspace page, it says "Sounds Like: crap." Plus she starts "Kevin is Gay" by making a sound from Street Fighter 2.

WED MAY 17- MATT COSTA, THE 88 $12 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
I don't know much about either of these guys, but I downloaded a Matt Costa song I liked (here's the link), and the 88 are catchy power pop. Check them out on Myspace. They kinda remind me of OK Go.

THU. MAY. 25 - The Walkmen w/ Mazarin & Nethers $15.00 930 Club - Walkmen are a semi-local band, they used to live in DC. They have some great songs, including "We've been had," which was in a car commercial, and "The Rat," which is fantastic.

FRI JUNE 9- ! ! ! , LANSING-DREIDEN $13 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat. This one I'm realy looking forward to. !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk) is indie-funk, if that makes any sense. Hipsters playing funk. Lansing-Dreiden is a really interesting art project/band, their CD is basically three parts - 60s garage, 80s post-rock stuff, and electro. I'm surprised they're touring, as they are apparently pretty mysterious and won't appear for interviews and things.

SUN JUNE 11- THE SPINTO BAND, DR DOG, THE LOVELY FEATHERS $10 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat. Spinto Band are catchy, a little bit twee dudes from Nashville, and I saw Dr. Dog awhile ago at DC9, they were good.

Sun June 11, Starlight Mints with Dios Malos and Octopus Project Fletchers (Baltimore) - Starlight Mints are a really catchy band, and Octopus Project are pretty fun too. I love this video by Starlight Mints, hope they play it. Hipster muppets.

Sun June 11, Starlight Mints with Octopus Project North Star (Philly) - ditto. Not sure if I want to go to Philly or Baltimire to see em. Probably Philly.

SUN JULY 23- DIPLO, CSS, BONDE DO ROLE $13 Adv/ $15 DOS mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
This show is going to be hipster central. Diplo is a DJ/remixer/etc who does the awesome version of Gold Digger, and Bonde Do Role is a Brazilian Baile funk band that's on his record label. Baile funk is a weird Brazilian genre, they take famous songs and mess them up and add Portuguese singing. The first song samples an Alice in Chains song, for example. The hipsters like it but it sort of grates on me.

4/25/2006

so I get a lot of spam in my email, some of which is filtered out, but some still gets through. I got this one the other day, I guess it's spam. It was sent to an MIT alumni email address, which is weird. Here's the entire body of the email:

Happy Saturday!
I just wanted to send a few quick snaps of a little gumba that I put together this week.
Hoping to refine the design and the shape for the next version.
This one will meet a fiery death at the refinery.

What? That's it. No photo, no link, nothing. It's kind of funny, but you wonder what this email is supposed to do. Maybe it's some kind of art project, or was put together by somebody who doesn't really understand the concept of email. I dunno. Weird.

4/24/2006

so I think I'm going to start a regular feature: news stories that inspire good band names.

Today's installment: Eye Fungus

That's gross. Good thing I don't use Renu.

4/23/2006


so I was walking home today after running some errands, and heard a lot of singing and noise near Logan Circle, so I walked over. When I got there, I saw a couple hundred church goers (being about 1:45-3:30 on Sunday, I guess they just got out) who were listening to speeches about how enforcing parking restrictions were bad. I got pretty mad. Basically, there has been controversy recently around Logan Circle, as church goers (largely black, and many from outside DC) drive in to park for services. They usually ignore any parking restrictions in the area, double park, block people in, and so on. Before, nobody made a stink about it, but lately residents (mostly the white ones) have been complaining about having their cars blocked in for hours and the church being less than helpful about it. DCist has a lot of coverage.

I listened to a few of the speeches by ministers and was getting pretty angry, as a few of them were pretty accusatory and illogical. One lady I heard was quoting the Bill of Rights "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" and how the "newcomers" (i.e. white people) were going to make it so no church would be able to operate in DC. Call me crazy, but I always thought the Bible says things like "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you." I'm sure these people from outside DC would not want to have their cars blocked in all the time. Another preacher was saying how the new residents didn't respect the old instutions like churches, and that they were being disrespected - I guess because they had to follow parking laws. The banner at the rally even said "Rally for Religious Freedom" which to me was ridiculous.

They're basically saying that because they're a church that's been around for a long time, laws shouldn't affect them. I guess that means that based on how long you live in a place, fewer and fewer laws should apply. I've lived in DC for 8 years, and Logan Circle for about 1, I guess that means I'm allowed to jaywalk and shoplift? If I live here 2 or 3 years, maybe I'm allowed to commit more crimes? And once I move outside DC, I am allowed to park wherever I want, apparently. The silly thing is, the city has been trying to work with the churches and the neighbors, opening new parking spaces, changing traffic patterns so there are more parking spaces along streets, and so on, but apparently it's not enough. It's ridiculous, this is a city, you aren't just allowed to park where ever you want, no matter where you're going. Sometimes you have to drive around for awhile to find a space, just like everyone else does. But because the churchgoers don't feel like it, it's the newcomers' faults. It makes me angry. I live here too. Most of the people complaining don't. If it's that big of a deal, build a parking garage. But I guess the churches are too busy trying to shut down nice, new vegetarian restaurants (presumably because they might raise property values) and attacking bars because they might attract gay people.

So I left, pretty steamed, and wrote the above part. Then I went back later to take some pictures. There were a few politicians there also, namely councilmembers Linda Cropp and Phil Mendelson, and mayoral candidate Michael Brown. Cropp didn't say much of interest, mainly that we need to figure this out, so that was boring. I didn't see Mendelson or Brown speak, but I might have missed it. I was actually kind of mad Brown was there at first, as I thought that meant he was in favor of allowing churchgoers to park wherever. I went over to talk to him after the rally, and he seemed to be pretty sensible on the issue, which I appreciated. Of course he's running for office, so he can't just say he favors one argument over another, (and he actually waited to answer my question once the pastor he was walking with was out of earshot) but he made the good point that an adversarial relationship won't work - the churches saying the "new residents" aren't respecting them, which makes us mad, and the "new residents" saying the churches are breaking the law, which makes them mad, since they feel like their opinion should count more. I told him it basically makes me feel like my opinion doesn't count, since I haven't been here forever. He also said that since this is a city, people are going to need to sacrifice a bit, it's going to tough to find parking, and the churches need to look into other solutions - Metro, valet, something. So that's something I appreciate. I have posted more photos on my Flickr account.

4/20/2006

so the new Streets album, Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, is on Myspace, and I am not impressed. It seems like his albums are getting worse and worse - I thought Original Pirate Material was fantastic, A Grand Don't Come for Free was ok, and this one is less than ok. It seems very tossed off (either the American or British translation of that phrase).

At least A Grand Don't Come for Free had "Fit But You Know It," which was a fantastic song that always causes me to dance uncontrollably, which is pretty rare. This album, however, doesn't have any really great songs, or even songs I'd like to listen to again. "Pranging Out," which I think is supposed to be the single, is pretty annoying.

I always thought his beats were the strong point of the first album, as they were really catchy and different, but on A Grand and this one, they're just getting choppier and uninteresting. He seems to be focusing on making his songs funny (and they're not that funny) rather than spending time to make good beats. You can't skip songs on Myspace, which sucks, but most of my notes on the songs are either "annyoing," "blah," "choppy," or "sort of funny, but blah" so you aren't missing much if you don't want to listen all the way through. "When You Wasn't Famous" is amusing and has the best beat, but that's not saying too much. "Never Went" and "Two Nations" got decent notes - "not bad, slow" and "kind of dumb US vs UK song" respectively. "Two Nations" does have a funny line though, "we were the ones who invented the language!" And "War of the Sexes" is alright, I wouldn't be shocked to hear it at some hipster dance night, and I might enjoy it if I had had a few.

I wish Mr. Skinner would have waited a bit, held onto the decent songs, and recorded some other stuff rather than the rest of the album, which is basically filler. He does have a cool website however, and you can hear part of "When You Wasn't Famous" in "the shed".

4/18/2006


so this Thursday is National High Five Day. It's a funny idea - walk down a street, high five a random person. I'd love to see this in DC, with harried businessmen in suits high fiving each other on K Street, lawyers high fiving bike messengers, and so on. And tourists would get a kick out of it. Though it would be fun to do the old "pretend to high five then move your hand over your head" fake-out move to the tourists.

4/17/2006

so I had the day off today because it's DC Emancipation Day, which is the day that Lincoln signed the law freeing the slaves in DC - about a year before he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. Apparently it's a DC holiday, though it only seems to effect city government offices and maybe schools and libraries. I think it's pretty interesting how there's a local holiday that is pretty important, at least important enough to not have work, but no one really seems to know about it - most people I talked to had never heard of it, and I didn't know about it until I heard I had the day off. The city had a number of events this week, but again, I didn't hear much about them. I think local holidays are pretty neat, they give more local flavor, something DC definitely needs. I remember when I lived in San Antonio there was Battle of the Flowers Day, which commemorated a battle in the Texas Revolution. It was interesting to hear about that time period and there was a big parade for it in downtown San Antonio. Maybe DC should have a big parade on Monday so people would hear more about it. Hopefully not during rush hour.

Actually, I spoke too soon, there is a parade. Well, maybe they should advertise it better.

4/13/2006

so the other day I got a CD in the mail to review: The Old Ceremony's self titled debut. They're from Chapel Hill, NC and are playing at Iota in Arlington on Friday, though I will be busy so I can't go. Check em out if you like their stuff - their myspace page has 4 songs (including one of my faves, "American Romeo", and their website has two more.

So here's my review:

First off, I should say I guess they aren't my cup of tea - I like peppy, poppy rock stuff generally, and while the Old Ceremony's music is pretty good, it's not something I'd probably listen to too often. I think fans of the Dresden Dolls, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Rachel's, Andrew Bird, and They Might Be Giants' less jokey stuff will like them, as they're a bit jazzy with a cabaret-music feel. Most of the songs are mid-tempo or slower, and are largely acoustic - violins, pianos, drums, xylophones and so on with the occasional light electric guitar, and the sound is warm and deep, which I like - good production. The press stuff describes them as a "pop noir orchestra" which is pretty accurate, as a lot of the songs are somewhat somber and melancholy. Some of the songs aren't terribly unique, but the musicianship is good throughout - I think an intimate place like Iota will suit them pretty well.

My favorite songs on the disk are "Shadows", the first song, which sounds pretty Dresden Dolls-ish to me, and "American Romeo," which is sort of happy and poppy and They Might Be Giants sounding, with TMBG-ish chord progressions and even what sounds like an accordion. Songs like "Ole", "Pennsylvania", and "Out of the Blue" are kind of boring to me and somewhat predictable. "Carry the One" reminds me of Morphine, with the deep, somewhat scracthy voice and sax. I sort of wish the songs started to rock out like some of the Dresden Dolls songs do. That being said, the Old Ceremony don't seem pretentious like the Dresden Dolls, and probably won't attract drama nerds dressed like the band members either.

In all, I will give them a rating of 6.5/10, as they're pretty good, just not what I'm into. I do bet they put on a pretty good show, as their music sounds like it would translate well live.
so I logged onto GMail today and this is what I saw:

Image hosting by Photobucket

Heh heh. Click it for a bigger version. It's from a word of the day thing I get.

4/12/2006

so I was reading about the Duke lacrosse scandal online and saw this Slate article. It's basically about how lacrosse players are a bunch of snobby assholes and how the author is not surprised they're involved in a sex scandal. Obviously this is a disgusting scandal, but the article is lame. I'm surprised it's in Slate, as it's pretty dumb and whiny - the writer (Dave Jamieson of the Washington City Paper) basically says all lacrosse players are jerks because the ones at his high school made fun of him and they're rich, loud and crude - as if no other people in school are rich, loud and crude jerks.

The article sounds more like a livejournal posting, and he uses tons of generalizations - lacrosse players marry trophy wives, they wear dirty white baseball caps with college names on them, etc. Again, because none of that occurs anywhere else in the world. He even tries to damn one of the players by saying poster of the "shocker" on his wall. Come on. Him and about a million other college kids have that poster. A lot of schools even have foam fingers shaped like the shocker for football games. The shocker is about as common today as devil horns. I bet some of the kisd even listened to misogynistic rap songs!

Then he argues that Steve Stifler from "American Pie" is the lacrosse icon. First off, Stifler is basically a clown, and the other characters also play lacrosse too - like Chris Klein, who skips the final lacrosse game to hang out with Mena Suvari and her big forehead. And anyway, it's a stupid teen movie! Stifler drinks a beer with sperm in it and a guy has sex with a pie! Clearly this is evidence that lacrosse players suck. I feel like you can hear the sound of the bottom of the barrel being scraped.

I played lacrosse (not well) in high school, and I will admit I probably have a different view because I went to public school in Tennessee. Most, if not all, of my teammates were normal guys. I don't consider myself a jock at all (nor would anybody who knows me) and my friends who played weren't either. The team didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary. It was basically a cross-section of my high school - there were rich kids, poor kids, Indian kids, Asian kids, etc, which seems like the way it is at Duke - mostly rich, white kids. Shocking! We played mostly against all-boys prep schools (one of the few generalizations of Jamieson's that I agree with) but besides a little bit of cockiness, they were just any other opposing team. They weren't taunting us with their BMW keys or yelling that their butlers make more than our dads do or anything like that. I'm sure they were wealthy and some were jerks, but who knows if they were any more common than your average all-boys prep school kid. I actually met one of the guys I played against randomly at college, and he was a cool (albiet well-off) dude. He doesn't wear a dirty white baseball cap or have a trophy wife.

This crime is terrible, and I hope they solve the crime and punish whoever's rseponsible. But don't punish a whole sport just because there are some jerks and morons who play it. It's a specious argument.

4/11/2006

so here's my most recent concert list. I missed a few of the last ones I listed.

FRI. APR. 14- LADYTRON 10pm Doors $15.00 930 Club.
Ladytron do really cool electroclash stuff and sometimes sing in Bulgarian

FRI APR 14 -NO SECOND TROY, THE OLD CEREMONY, BUDDAHEAD 9:00PM $10 Iota
The Old Ceremony is an acoustic band (guitar, violin, cello etc) that sound pretty neat, and I bet Iota will be a good place to see them, as that place always has good sound. Unfortunately I will be at Ladytron that day.

Sun April 16: half handed cloud, Vollmar. Galaxy Hut
Half-Handed Cloud is a guy in Sufjan Steven's band, and he opened for Sufjan awhile ago. I think I liked it, I forget.

TUES APR 25- ISLANDS (ex-Unicorns), WHY?, CADENCE WEAPON $12 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
I like the Unicorns, and the Islands stuff I've heard on Myspace is good, it's super poppy. Plus i like the pitcher on their albumn by Caspar David Friedrich. One of the few things I learned in art history class

SAT. MAY. 6 PHOENIX $15.00 930 Club
Phoenix is a catchy French band, they did some songs on the soundtrack of "Lost in Translation" and such.

FRI MAY 12- PINBACK $15 mainstage 9:30 Black Cat.
Pinback are what is sometimes called laptop indie, which means sort of introspective stuff with some electronic bits, I guess. I think one guy does all the music. It's pretty cool and delicate stuff but a lot of the songs build in intensity. Check out "Fortress" on their myspace page and Lyon from their website.

MON MAY 15- PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, GIANT DRAG $13 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
The confident girl supershow. Giant Drag is a cool two-piece, and I have a thing for Annie, the singer and guitarist. They're pretty funny - they have songs like "Kevin is Gay", "My Dick Sux," and "You're Full Of Shit (Check Out My Sweet Riffs)" and on their myspace page, it says "Sounds Like: crap." Plus she starts "Kevin is Gay" by making a sound from Street Fighter 2.

WED MAY 17- MATT COSTA, THE 88 $12 mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
I don't know much about either of these guys, but I downloaded a Matt Costa song I liked (here's the link), and the 88 are catchy power pop. Check them out on Myspace. They kinda remind me of OK Go.

SUN JULY 23- DIPLO, CSS, BONDE DO ROLE $13 Adv/ $15 DOS mainstage 8:30 Black Cat.
This show is going to be hipster central. Diplo is a DJ/remixer/etc who does the awesome version of Gold Digger, and Bonde Do Role is a Brazilian Baile funk band that's on his record label. Baile funk is a weird Brazilian genre, they take famous songs and mess them up and add Portuguese singing. The first song samples an Alice in Chains song, for example. The hipsters like it but it sort of grates on me.

4/09/2006

so I went to see the Dada exhibit at the National Gallery of Art this weekend, it was really good. It told me a lot about the art and where it came from, and it really made me wonder why a similar movement isn't going on now - the Dada movement came up because of the disillusionment and cyncism after the first world war. To me, this is happening now - politicians are talking about things, but they're not really getting better, and so much is happening, but not much really gets done. A lot of the art in the exhibit could easy have made sense if it was made right now, which really struck me. I'm sure there are some artists doing this sort of thing now, but it doesn't seem like a movement, and nobody is seeming to notice it. It's weird. Are we that apathetic?

4/04/2006

so there is some great news lately. First, Tom Delay is resigning, which is probably the best political thing I can think of (besides maybe Bush, Cheney etc resigning), and second, a fan tossed a syringe near Barry Bonds, and this website is really funny: engrish.com. It's a collection of poorly translated English in Japan - food, instructions, and so on. I think the best are the shirts, which are hilarious. Some of them you can sort of figure out what they're trying to say, but some are just nonsense. Apparently it's cool to wear shirts with English on them over there.

4/03/2006

so how about that Basic Instinct 2? Man, that looks retarded. It looks like a parody, like an SNL sketch. "Look at me, I'm Sharon Stone, I am gonna straddle this chair and make funny faces." What is this, 1994? Why don't you also put Jenny McCarthy and Yasmeen Bleeth in the movie too, and have the Spin Doctors do the soundtrack. Lame.