Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Randomest dog encounter

Sometimes it's the little things. Again I was scrambling to get to work and decided against taking the slow as molasses elevator in our apartment building and skipped down the stairs. I screeched to a halt before reaching the third floor because I noticed something distinctly staring up at me from the bottom of staircase.

It was about 3 seconds of, "What the? Is that? What is that? Oh, a dog." Right then the dog saw me and yipped and continued to stare at me, propping itself up with its front paws on the first step.

The whole thing was a bit surreal and I slowed down and walked down the stairs since I noticed an owner didn't come with it. "That's weird," I thought, but figured maybe the owner was around the corner waiting for the elevator. It was a cute enough thing. White with black splotches. It looked mutt-y and was adorable in that mutt-y way. Had triangular ears that folded forward (both black) and was sort of the larger end of the "small dog" scale so it wasn't lap doggy annoying sized, but not really a medium-sized one either. At first I thought it was biting onto something, but then I realized that's how the patch of black fur grew on it's mouth. It looked like it had a big bushy walrus moustache.

I didn't think it was unfriendly, but I'd been warned about my over friendliness with strange dogs before. I tried to be careful, but I realized I kind of had to get past it to go down the steps so might as well tried to make friends with it.

"Hey, cutie," I said waggling my fingers at it but not bending down to touch it. It leapt up in excitment and started maniacally wagging it's tail. So I reached down to let it give my hand a sniff and it licked it happily. "Aw, you's a cute one...where's your owner?...Are you lost?"

I straightened up and continued to head for the next flight of stairs when I noticed poochie following me. Well, now this was a problem. I didn't want it following me out if it did belong to someone in the building. Then again, I couldn't just wait around there with the dog until its hypothetical owner showed up...

Just then a man rounded the corner and froze looking at the two of us with his jaw hanging open. I stared at him. A second or two of silence passed.

" this your dog?" I asked.

The guy started talking to the dog like he'd just caught his kid drawing all over a newly painted wall in the master bedroom. In his best "What the fuck is going on??" voice he demanded, "Corky! Corky! What are you DOING??"

I stood there not sure what I was supposed to do. The dog continued to look at me expectantly with it's tail wagging, only staring at his owner when he heard his name.

"Corky, why? What are you doing out here? What is going on?? Corky!" the guy continued to say. And the weird thing was it wasn't like he was pissed off. And he didn't seem mad that I was petting his dog. He just sounded like he could not fucking believe Corky was out in the hallway just chillaxing. I guess it managed to squeeze out the door while he wasn't looking and the guy came running out after realizing Corky wasn't in the house anymore.

"Come on, Corky, let's go," he said, and Corky looked at me one last time before going off with his owner.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

11/15 Malajube@ Bowery Ballroom

It was a Thursday. I had to be in work extra early the next day. I had several things due that I'm pretty sure if I didn't finish in time and turn in by the end of Friday I'd either be fired or at least it would have made for a not so great work environment. This is why I buy tickets beforehand. If I don't, I usually think up a million reasons of why I should not go to a show. Even if I don't, I'll end up not committing to getting out of work right at 6 or girding myself to finish something by the end of the day or what have you. That's how I found myself at the Bowery Ballroom

I'd talk about the opening acts, but they weren't really my cup of tea. Does that sound cold? I mean they were good musicians, but just not music I could get with. I don't know if it was because of the deadlines I was chasing and the mildly unfortunate timing during the week. Or hell, it was probably just a personal preference thing, but I could not muster anything. There were certain songs I liked but overall my impression was, "That's cool."

As Malajube set up for their set, I noticed Julien's new haircut. It was interesting. I...I mean, it wasn't a bowl cut...but...hmm. His haircut makes me wish more of my photos from this show had come out, but no. I really need to get a new camera. Flash makes everything looks gross and without flash my show photos look like they all watched the Ring video and have seven days.

They opened up with "Pate Filo" and "Montreal -40C." They sounded a bit slower paced than what I was used to hearing, but I happily hopped up and down and excitedly sang along. Do I know French? Hell, no. No, I don't. You're thinking of my cousin if you're thinking of the French speaker. Nonetheless I phonetically sang along (loudly, proudly and incorrectly) to as many of the songs as I could.

It was an energetic set. I think I prefer "Filles a Plumes" live very much. Also Mathieu has a fantastically awesome-looking bass. I totally fall hard and gush about instruments I find pretty, so I'm going to be honest and say I kind of want to play his bass. And I know the wording of that sounds super weird, but please, let's keep our minds out of the gutter. The shape and everything is just sooo cool. Afterwards I told him he had a gorgeous bass and he simply said, "I know" with a grin. Oh yea, he so knew he had a good-looking musical instrument and, yes, I totally giggled like a schoolgirl when he said that because it felt like we were sharing a private joke...damn, this whole paragraph is reading like all kinds of wrong to me. I think we should move on.

I stuck around after the show for a beer. I figured, well, hell, it's already close to one in the morning and it's gonna take me an hour and a half to get home, fuck it. I saw the guys from the band wandering about so I went around asking them to sign my ticket. I got everyone but Julien. I'm going to be honest, I was a little nervous about talking to them. I, I can't explain why except that I felt weird not being able to speak French, and I mean they spoke English, yea, but I still felt weird and on top of that I felt like I was bothering them...or something. I don't know, but the thing was I kind of felt obligated to have them sign it since I wasn't sure when I'd see them play live again and situations like that makes me a little memento-happy. Not to mention my weird compulsion to let people know when they played an awesome set.

"Well, I'm about to leave anyway," I reasoned with myself as I threw back what was left of my beer and put on a brave face. And you know what? They're chill. I was super shy so I probably came off kind of quiet, mousy and weird...I don't even know what I was expecting would happen, but whatever it was didn't and they were all perfectly cordial. The funny thing was they seemed surprised and amused that I had an actual physical ticket. Thomas actually uttered, "Wow, you have a ticket?"

I, um, I tend to buy tickets beforehand to remind myself to go. Especially for during the week shows, if I don't, I'll come up with some reason or excuse not to...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The age of kitchen appliances

I finally found a whetstone to my liking and now my knife is sharp, sharp, sharp! Yes, I paid 40 dollars for a Kikuichi double-sided whetstone, but you know what? My santoku's worth it. And as much as I cook, the last couple of months I've been flirting with danger with the dull blade I've been working with.

But that's not the big news. There's actually two. The minor big news is that I broke down and bought a toaster yesterday. The reaction isn't as exciting as I was about it, but generally I did get a lot of "You don't have one already?" Yes, since moving out of college this is the first time I owned a toaster. Sure we had one with my parents, and yea there were kids in my dorm who owned a toaster even with a toaster available in the dining halls since they need to get their bagel or toast fix all the time. I could never justify spending the 15-20 dollars on a toaster. Call me weird, but people who know me know that I'm cheap in weird ways. I'll splurge on books or will lay down some moolah on a night out with folks, but leave me in the toaster aisle with some toasters and all of the sudden I'm thinking, "Oh for, FUCK'S SAKE. Do I really eat toast *that* much?"

The bigger news: I FINALLY GOT A RICE COOOOKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRR!!! (done in a "Oprah going insane about whatever new freebie she's giving out to her audience members" voice)

This is way too exciting for someone who eats as much rice as I do. Again, I dawdled a bit on purchasing one since I couldn't really bare myself to spend the money for a *good* rice cooker. That's right. Zojirushi or bust. The thing is I don't need the fuzzy cooking technology or ability to steam veggies or even bake a cake, I just need something to make rice, and keep it warm. Ironically the store only had all these fancy varieties of the "cheaper" brands, and the cheapest one they had was a regular Zojirushi five-cupper, so hey, it worked out that way in the end. After getting a place of my own I've been relying on making my rice with a pot which is a) annoying compared to the "set it and forget it" (sorry Ronco) attitude you have with a rice cooker b) and what could I do with leftover rice? I could dump it in the fridge/freezer, but without a microwave, eating up old rice became too much of a chore. And I'm horrible at math and I rarely measure shit (unless I'm baking) so I wasn't going to sit around with a measuring cup for my rice so I'd have exactly one serving size. What if I wanted a little more? What if I didn't? At least with a rice cooker, I have one more day of warm rice eating. HOORAY!

How did I celebrate this? By eating a warm new batch of rice with something that go great with warm new batches of rice. Salted whiting roe! Oh my God. Seriously, if you've never had some delicious salted whiting roe on a piping hot spoonful of rice, you have not had deliciousness in your mouth yet. I also made my other favorite, seasoned eggplant. The store also had some seasoned aster so I couldn't say no to that. Now I am happily full after having chowed down on the roe, eggplant, aster, seasoned garlic stems, and seaweed. Oof. Simply delicious. I really don't know why I waited so long to get a rice cooker. There's also two squids sitting in the freezer right now who don't know that they're going to be dinner later this week to continue this rice cooker celebration. Oh, they're SO going to get cooked and eaten.

I'm still not getting a microwave. I don't know. I really, honestly, have found that I don't need it now that I'm used to not having one around. Any leftovers can become lunch for work since they have a microwave there and I don't make ridiculously large amounts of food. Another weird benefit is that I don't buy random junk food. I might be shopping and in one of those weird shopping for food weakness moments think, "Maybe I do want a Hot Pocket," but then I realize, "Oh yea, I don't have a microwave oven to cook it in." So, it's kept me from stocking up on shitty microwaveable foods. Every now and then I'll have something like beef patties or a pizza sitting in the freezer for emergencies, and those you can cook in the oven.

So I just wanted to say that I'm extremely happy with the new rice eating possibilities given to me. Here's to commemorate that. And y'all remember, right? That I can't give exact measurements to save my life? Do it by the seat of your pants. By tasting. It'll be fun.

Seasoned salted whiting roe/Myung-ran jut (명란젓)

-Whiting (cod) roe
-diced scallions
-diced garlic
-sesame oil
-toasted sesame seeds

Salted whiting roe comes in their little egg sacs. Now the package I bought says "whiting roe" but I'm pretty sure it's the same thing as tarako, or cod roe, since whiting can also mean cod. But make sure it's the salted kind. That's what the "jut" part means. It's a salted, prepared product. What you're looking for looks like this. Don't say, "Gross!" I don't want to hear it. It's delicious. Trust me on this.

Now tastes differ on how to prepare the roe. Some people want just the roe and will cut the sacs in half and scrape it out. Other people will eat the sacs as well (I eat 'em). In the case of the latter, make sure you're cutting the sacs up into small enough pieces. Just running your knife through one a couple of times will usually do. There's no need to overdo it, since the whole operation sort of comes apart on its own accord during the mixing stage.

Now because you're using salted roe, you don't need to add salt or anything. The minced/grated garlic and chopped scallions should be added for flavor/textures difference. Not too much. A dash of toasted sesame seeds, and some sesame oil and mix the whole thing up and it's good to eat.

Seasoned eggplant/ gaji muchim(가지무침)

- Chinese/Japanese/Korea/OK, fine, "Asian" eggplant
- garlic
- scallions
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- Korean ground red pepper

I need to stress this needs to be some sort of Asian variety of eggplant. By this, I mean it needs to be thin and long. Not a ginormous, bulbous affair. Just cut off the ends and cut it into around 6 cm. long pieces and throw into boiling water. You want to cook it, but not too long. Too mushy's kinda weird, you still want it to have some sort of "crispness" to it. Crisp being real relative since we're talking about cooked eggplant.

Put cooked eggplant into cold water to cool. Once the pieces are cooled, just rip them apart lengthwise by hand. They'll shred apart in strips. Squeeze out liquid. Then add diced scallions, minced garlic, sesame seeds, ground red pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil and mix, mix, mix.

Oh, and I stress Korean ground red pepper because I'm not talking about red pepper flakes, nor am I talking about cayenne pepper. I guess the latter might work, but it's just not the same. If you can get a hold of some of it, do invest in a bag of this angry, red stuff. Just ask for gochu karu (고추가루). That's right, the smallest size you'll ever see these in is half-kilogram sacks, not wimpy ass shakers. It goes in everything. What can I say, Koreans like their stuff hot =(. They'll usually sell mild or hot versions, but really, they're all hot so you might as well go whole hog. Get hot or go home.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Getting ready for tomorrow

OK, I think I baked all the cornbread I need to make stuffing tomorrow...worse comes to worse I need to bake another small pan of it, but I doubt that'll be necessary since I'm just finding out the pans I bought originally are too huge. My right hand is now officially a claw from having to grate three different cheeses. I hope there are still some stores open tomorrow so I can go buy new smaller pans and also more milk. =(

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

People, it's the holidays for crying out loud

"The Skinny on Holiday Eating." That's seriously a headline on MSN right now. And I'm sure there are plenty of tips floating around about sensible holidy eating.

FUCK THAT. What the hell? Seriously, I never got all this calories-counting, boo-hooing around this time of the year. Isn't that one of the main points of Thanksgiving? Wanton gluttony disguised under the presumptuous misconception of giving thanks for food when in fact the colonists were starving because they were idiots and wholesale ignoring the harm done to the native population?

If we're gonna gloss over all that history with cute pilgrims and indians dollas and turkey tissue paper centerpieces, you can fucking afford to eat until you let out a vital organ.

It's just one goddamn day. No one's saying you have to eat like this everyday. And if you're the type to have been watching your weight and your intake all throughout the year to begin with, is one day really going to fuck you up? And if you're more of the girthy type who can't say no to that second helping, really, is Thanksgiving the day you should be starting to push yourself away from the table? Does this make any sense? Look, just pick one day, Thanksgiving day. Go out balls to the wall, and eat everything you want to it. Even if there are leftovers the next couple of days, maybe you'll be too damn sick to even think about eating. At the most, for letting go one day, how much weight will you gain? If you've eaten enough in one day to gain 5 pounds you should be fucking commended if you aren't dead already.

All I know is, all I had today was pizza and I will continue to not eat solids for the rest of the day and rely on tea so that tomorrow I can eat with full force tomorrow. And to make I'm even planning on watching the turkey-eating contest on Spike to commemorate the whole thing. You know I'm rooting for Kobayashi.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Odds and ends on a Monday

1. Don't go dancing in new boots. No matter how awesome you think those boots are you will not be able to walk the next two days thanks to your calf muscles having seized up and stiffed.
b. When you dance, you get a weird sex face thing going on. Try not to do that.

2. I don't know why you had a dream about Eugene Hutz coming over to your house to play Wario Ware: Smooth Moves on your Wii.
b. You need to buy more video games.

3. When I first bought the thigh-high gym socks type socks from American Apparel last year, it was on a whim. Even as I handed over the money for them, I thought, "What the hell? Where and when will I wear this? In what possible circumstance? This looks ridiculous!" However, all I knew was I wanted them. Well, last night I found a use for them. They double as pajama pants. I haven't been able to do laundry and my pajama pants are in the hamper, so I've been freezing my ass off when I sleep. Last night it got so bad that I decided fuck it and decided to at least put on some socks, when lo and behold I saw them lying in the drawer. I pulled them up to my thighs and crawled back into bed. And guess what? WARM AS FUCK Y'ALL.

4. Buying some things from the 99 cents store today, a thought crossed my mind as a gazed at the stuff behind the counter. Who the hell would buy a pregnancy test at a 99 cents store? Of all the places and things to look for a deal in...really?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

11/4 Band of Horses @ Terminal 5

or "Beardtopia"

"I don't know why New York crowds get such a bad rep," Ben Bridwell said to a crowd that whooped back in appreciation. "Whenever we come here you guys show us so much love."

It's true, I think New York crowds sometimes do get a bad rep. I've been to plenty of shows with people who are enthusiastic and enjoying themselves. They might not be *as* enthusiastic sometimes, but usually there seems to be a reason. It might be an opening band not everyone knows, or as highlighted previously on the topic, not every show's about jumping around and screaming.

At the same time, I was glad to see the door crowd being what I was used to seeing in New York. None of that lines stretching down the block business I had run into with Gogol Bordello the night before. There were some people there early, but basically the real push of the crowd started after the 30 minutes mark before the doors open, and the line wasn't long. I got to leisurely take my place up front.

I know I mentioned in a "And in this weekend's news" post that I'd destroyed a pair of tights at a show. Interestingly enough, the tights were not destroyed during the Gogol Bordello show. I had more sense to dress appropriately for that. Sure, I still wanted to look cute, and sure, my shirt was pulled this way and that during the show so that a whole left breast (thank God that besides support, bras provide an additional layer of cover) was hanging out towards the end of the show, but the point was I was in jeans and sneakers.

But for this show? I decided to go with "80's teen movie quirky sidekick friend" look. Curly hair in a ponytail, black, ruched button-down shirt, black pencil skirt, aqua tights, red flats, red lipstick and red Lisa Simpson-style necklace. Now all I needed was William Zabka to walk up and pour milk all over my lunch tray and I could call him a "real big jerk" and he'd be all, "Well, what are you going to do about it? You know what they say. Can't cry over spilled milk." And as he'd go away laughing and high-fivin' friends with his fingerless leather gloved hands, I'd turn to my Molly Ringwald-esque friend and just roll my eyes.

Tyler Ramsey started off and was great. Great guitarist. BIG BUSHY BEARD.

People, this show did not disappoint in the beard department. When Band of Horses came on stage, it was six people on stage. Out of those six, five had beards. That's a 5:6 beard to no beard ratio. And it only came out to five because I did not count a sort of scruffy protobeard. If I did, we're talking about 100% facial hair participation.

Anyhow, I really like his song "Ships." Also, he was the second opening act to be part of the support for the main band, just like Jim Bryson. One more and it's a trend. During his set, one of the girls behind me screamed, "You're damn sexy!" I mention these girls because they play a part during the second opening act.

The second act was The Drones from Melbourne. They were also fantastic. When they introduced themselves as being from Melbourne the girl who had proclaimed Tyler Ramsey's sexiness shouted that her and her friend were from Australia as well. When asked where, they answered Sydney, to which the lead singer jokingly answered, "Oh, Sydney sucks." The girl got a bit flustered at this and kept shouting back as to why to get a response.

It was a good show. Interesting mix as well. While the Gogol Bordello show was eclectic in the sense that it was a wide range of ages and types of people, with the Russian-speaking folks mingling with the black punk chick and some goth persons, for Band of Horses it was more different as in "scenes." There were some who dressed the more indie rock uniform while some looked like just regular in L.L. Bean jackets and whatnot. Like I saw a guy with a hat that had a feather in it and a full purple suit including a vest, while his friend just had on a simple t-shirt and jean ensemble.

A good show with some hiccups. I don't know if it's just me, but I'm not entirely loving the sound at Terminal 5. It's just the voices. They're too muffled or something. Everything else sounds fine, but just the voice.

There were some hiccups. During the encore, it sounded fine to me, but Ben Bridwell cut short a song since it didn't seem to sound right to him. He said, "We'll do that when we've practiced it more." Bridwell's voice strained a bit at the beginning of "No One's Gonna Love You," but he seemed to gain his stride as the song went on.

The strike nixed their Conan O'Brien appearance, so I was glad to catch them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shilling for some great band and a great group of guys

So, if this is my essay on why you should go see The High Strung play.

Things that make a great band that I will go see all the time: Awesome music, awesome performance, awesome people.

And today I'm here to admit that I'm a sucker for a nice band. Good music, yes, good performance, also good, but a big key to a great live performance for me is that you feel like the band wants you to be there enjoying the music as well. I'm not saying audience members are entitled to something, but it is about atmosphere and the fact that live performances are an experience. That's why I love when it's visible and palpable that a band is having a good time. Who wants to be around people who always seem miserable about everything? It's the same thing with bands. If they can't get happy and enthusiastic about what they're doing, why should you? And sure, it's just an added plus when it feels like they want people to be there and share the experience with you. And it doesn't have to be all happy good times. Even if it's a spectacularly melancholy mood, you can tell when a performer is keyed into what they're doing and are passionate about it. All the reasons for why I love good stage banter, or something as random as drumface or guitarface.

Anyhow, my story about The High Strung. Most people I know know this story because it's come up before when I've discussed live shows and how even the little things can matter when it comes to first impressions.

It was about...4-5 years ago in Chicago. I had bought my ticket to see The Weakerthans at Logan Square Auditorium. I had never been to this venue before, but the directions I got online made it seem like a piece of cake. "Just across the street from the Logan Square L stop!" the site proclaimed.

While not entirely incorrect, it wasn't entirely correct either. When I made my exit from the stop, there were actually four different possible directions I could go "just across the street." This was exacerbated by the fact that Logan Square Auditorium's exterior is slightly tucked away. There wasn't a large marquee or even storefront to tell you, "Hey! Venue here!" It was an intriguing outfit, where it was one of those old-school buildings you'd see where a private eye would have an office. You'd go up a narrow flight of stairs and the hallways would be dotted with frosted glass doors that showed who owned that space and did what in it. Before entering the venue, waiting out in the hall, I noticed one of those offices belonged to a dentist. The venue space itself was kind of huge, which makes me think it used to be a dance hall/studio. I could see the hardwood floors would've come from such a previous incarnation. Of course it could just be they knocked out a bunch of walls on that top level or something, but it's such an old building and it maintained so much of that old-school appeal, I kind of find that hard to believe. Or I guess, I didn't want to believe it.

Anyhow, that's not the point of the story, let's rewind back to me sort of standing around trying to figure out my next move. I could've picked a direction and just walked, but like an idiot, I didn't write down the number/address of the place I was looking for, and with four different directions I was trying to figure out the smartest way to tackle this problem rather than to walk down several paths. Then, at a distance, I spotted my way out. A group of guys were approaching and my first thought was, "They look like guys who might know where a venue is."

An unfortunate case of profiling, but come on. I was lost and I needed help. I just figured maybe they were going to the show too or something. I flagged them down and asked if they knew where Logan Square Auditorium was.

Long story short, the group of guys I ran into was The High Strung, who were playing with The Weakerthans that evening, and Josh was nice enough to give me directions. As I scampered off into the correct direction I thought to myself, "Wow, those guys were nice."

Of course it also helped a lot that they indeed rocked my face off when I saw them play a short while after that, but they're OK guys in my book for helping out an embarassed bundle of college girl nerves who had funny colored hair and who was dressed a little like a homeless Vietnam War vet. They probably don't even remember that happening, but that is my story on why they are awesome. They played a great set, but that niceness was the little extra something to make me loyal. To this day, I remember that story and I go see them whenever I can.

Right now, they are touring with The Teeth, also an excellent band, I've seen them play before and I heartily approve. If you have awesome shoes, one of the guys from The Teeth might trade with you. It's happened before. Besides the possibility of getting new (well, maybe not new new, but definitely new to your feet) kicks, they make fun music.

You should go see The High Strung play because they are awesome, and they are nice. I mean, I'm not super best friends with them or something like that, but at least that's the impression I got from my brief encounters. But, don't take my word for it (insert 'Reading Rainbow' "Duh-nuh NUH!" sound effect here). Go to a show, don't be scared, say "hi," and damn it, buy them a drink. They put on a great show and They make interesting and good music. They've got good chemistry, and they should considering how much time they spend on the road together (another positive point for them: dedication). Josh will give you directions if you're lost, Derek's stage banter will make you laugh and Chad is the band's resident bass god (A GOD I tell you). At the very least, you will have fun.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New song du jour

So finally got Band of Horses out of my brain only to have it replaced by CSS (And really, how can you not love them just based on their name alone?).

I remember hearing "Let's Make Love" a little while back and totally digging its old funk guitar riffin' with a sort of Rod Stewart "If You Think I'm Sexy" synth/theremin whine in the background, then kicking in with some good ol' electronica blips and boops. And their lead singer, Lovefoxxx, with her cute Brazilian-accented English was just way too cute. And guess what, she's hapa! Booyah, y'all. We half-Asians are slowly but surely taking over the world and being totally adorable and hot while doing it.

And come on, how can you be a 20-something in New York and not have "Let's make love and listen to Death From Above" not be your theme, or at the very least your mission statement for each day when you get out of bed? Now, I personally have been too busy (more like, lazy and um...indifferent) to look into whether this song references James Murphy or Death From Above 1979, but I will say that when I'm getting ready to go out and I need to get into that "I'm just too sexy for all this" mood, I just need to flip on the MSTRKRFT remix for Death From Above 1979's "Sexy Results" and next thing you know my booty's got a mind of its own. Now that I think about it, that song really would provide some fantastically pornorrific ambience when you're getting it on...hmm, so would "Let's Make Love" for that a weird way.

Anyhow, I recently heard CSS' "Music is My Hot Hot Sex," in a cellphone ad (=/) and it made me go, "Oh yea! Those dudes!" And now, my earwig predicament.

So here you all go. Some CSS with a smattering of remixed versions as well as "Sexy Results," both the original and MSTRKRFT versions.

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

Saturday, November 10, 2007

11/3 Gogol Bordello @ Terminal 5

Or, " thing I know Eugene Hutz is on TOP of me."

"Holy, fucking shit," I thought to myself as I continued to follow the line that snaked along the boarded up construction that neighbored Terminal 5. I knew the show was sold out, but the line really surprised me. I guess I'd gotten too complacent where I was always one of the first people to show up and people usually didn't bother showing up until the doors actually opened, or even waited until after the opening acts played.

As we waited in line, I tried to figure out whether or not I should just head up to the balcony to get a front view up there rather than take my chances.

"I need to come here at least 2 hours before the doors open the next time," I mused as we slowly started entering like cattle. The ladies were made to stand to the left and men to the right. We had to have our jackets and bags opened for inspection. I was still mildly annoyed about possibly having a shitty view when I decided to enter the main admission area before heading up to the balconies...only to be surprised that there seemed to be not that many people already inside.

"What the fuck kind of Tardis shit is this?" I asked looking around incredulously. It wasn't just that there weren't that many people on the main floor, the balconies looked pretty empty too. I didn't waste anytime however and made a beeline for the stage and ended up being in the second row. I have no idea where those people disappeared to. I'm thinking there was a trap door that I narrowly missed while walking in. The hallways of the place did look a bit unfinished still. Unless they were being ironic about their look or something. There was still visible spackling on the hallway walls.

The opening act was Dub Trio and a DJ spun some ill gypsy/Greek/Slavic music infused beats. I couldn't catch the DJs name, but learned later on that he was the newest addition to the Gogol Bordello crew.

Quite honestly, the whole show was a blur. I'm already horrible at remember sets, but at a Gogol Bordello show? I mean, if I wrote shit down, OK, yea I'd get by, but who the hell goes to shows to write shit down unless it was your job or something? I do this for fun. If I was getting paid for it, fine, yea I'd be more conscientious about that kind of stuff, but I do enough of that at my regular job as it is. Just let me have my peace and enjoy the music and atmosphere. And damn, what an atmosphere it was, which brings me to another group at shows which annoys me as much as assholes: Pussies.

People who bitch at shows about how rough it gets. And I don't mean all shows get a free pass for being rough. Some shows aren't meant to be, and when you're trying to crowd surf to mellow-ass shit or trying to skank just because the band plays something somewhat fast-paced, you're just trying too hard or being a douche. For example, that one dude? At Arcade Fire who was doing the punk show, one hand on someone's shoulder so you can jump up high thing? Except he was like 6'2" and was using the shoulder of a girl in front of him who looked like she was 5'2" and would barely weigh 100 pounds soaking wet? You, sir, are a goddamned idiot. Everyone instinctively knows what kind crowd a show will generate. Sometimes you may overestimate, but you come with some sense in your head of whether or not you'll spend an evening with your arms crossed bobbing your head or if you should be more than ready to have to clock a motherfucker. What I'm talking about, are people who come to a Gogol Bordello show and can't stop complaining about being jostled about. Or people shooting you dirty looks because you shoved them the hell back into the crowd after they try to push you out of the way to get to the front.

This is a public service announcement. First of all, yea shows can get rough, but you don't have to be an asshole about it. No, you're not going to be getting into fistfights at a show just because it's a rough show. There's still some modicum of respect. The Golden Rule applies; don't do anything you wouldn't want someone to do to you. Sure there's some randomass droog type douchebag who'll show up keen to shove their fist down someone's rot or tolchok someone in the gulliver, and have that be the only goal for the show, but really, you usually can find like-minded people to do that with you and people like that can spot their own and y'all usually know what shows that's appropriate for.

On the same note, don't be surprised if I'm shoving you out of the goddamn way because you're trying to get in front of me. Homey don't play that shit. It's called general admission. Let me break it down for you for a sec. The rule is, you're not entitled to any one spot and for that matter, neither am I really. We all paid the same price monetarily. You sure as hell may try to get in front of me or whatever, but if I can keep you at bay, then tough fucking luck. However, as someone who actually showed up on time, if not even earlier, and really did want to check out the opening acts, it does piss me off when people show up at a show an hour or so late, or maybe already into the first one or two songs of the main act and decide they need to be where I'm at. The point is this, I got to a show early and stood in line and all that. I may not be entitled, but I'll be damned if I let your ass scooch up front after enjoying some drinks at the bar and finally hearing a song and going, "Oh shit, that's my jam," before deciding to amble up. And you're just making it worse when it's worse when it's a packed show. Where the hell do you think we're all gonna go? It's called fucking displacement, bitch. If it's one of those loosely congregated crowds with pockets of space I'm actually a bit more chill about that, but no damn way I'm going to sacrifice my comfort for you. If you really want it that bad, you better bring it.

Anyhow I spent the evening firmly rooted in my spot. Right hand holding on to the railing that a girl in front of me was leaning on. I ended up uncomfortably cupping her right breast the entire night. The left arm was elbow cocked at a 30 degree position and ready to throw some 'bows. The thing is, it's not just a matter of visibility and being up front, it's also a matter of safety. The show did not have a designated mosh pit area. And when I mean designated, I mean the 5-10 people who decide "hey, we're gonna start moshing...HERE." Meaning that it wasn't a ROUGH show, but it was one of those possibly dangerous ones where an eye of chaos kind of swirls about throughout the crowd like the hurricane graphic you see on the weather report. Mosh pits are honestly a bit more organized because you have a group of people who create a circle in the middle of the crowd that no one goes near unless they want to get pulled in. In the case of the hurricane, it's more or less people falling and pulling themselves back up causing other people around them to fall and pull themselves back up, and so on and so forth. So once you're pushed, there's a good chance you'll be pushed around a LOT. And it became so tightly packed it becomes one of those situations of , "Well, I'm only being held up by the sheer amount of people squashed around me, but if I fall, I am FUCKED." I was strictly in the "fuck that noise" camp.

Now that I think about it, considering the eclectic mix of people in line before the show, there's a chance that a majority of them were in fact in the third or second balconies, knowing full well they'd be avoiding the jostling crowd below and mos def not being down with that. However, at one point during the show I turned around to see some curly salt-and-pepper haired, bespectacled, mustachioed older gentleman dressed like someone's dad at a ball game standing directly behind me in the midst of sweaty 18-25 years old pushing each other about and I just gaped at him. I soon recovered from my gaping at the old man when I turned around and Eugene Hutz's chest was right in my face. He was tottering over the crowd by standing on the railing. The crowd seemed to be committed to helping him out. They propped him up, which was difficult to do because the man was slippery as a greased pig thanks to a sheen of sweat and his shirtlessness, and sort of held onto his legs. I was surprised no one tried to yank him into the crowd. I thought only comic book characters did this, but I actually let out an audible (well, audible if tens of people weren't screaming) "oof" at one point because he decided to hold himself up above the crowd by squarely planting his hand on my right shoulder and grasping it for dear life. I tottered, then regained my center of gravity and continued screaming my head off in excitement.

Was there bucket drumming? Yes there was. But just of the mic stand variety, he didn't do the buckets on his backup dancer's feet drumming. And may I say? Those ladies are hot. I totally wanted to talk to them after the show. And not in a weird creepy way. Just they're so cool I felt like I was back in the 6th grade staring at this one super cool high school chick who used to go to my school who was like half-Italian and half-Bolivian, had long thick black hair, was always dressed in black and wore black eyeliner in a thick Cleopatra kind of way and would smoke behind our school. I wish I could put down "Gogol Bordello backup dancer/singer" on my resume.

I also love their bass player, especially when he'd start groovin' in on some reggae-style basslines.

I was tempted to go to the after party, but it was already close to 1 a.m. and I was on my own and kind of wussed out on that idea.

Oh, and another reason why I wanted to be up front was because I had made a sign. It was a sign that simply said, "Mr. Hutz! I want to have sex with your mustache!! (It's that glorious)"

I'm serious.

When I relayed this tidbit to Eryka on the phone the day after there was a moment of silence on the other end until she said, "It really said that?"

"Yea!" I answered brightly. More silence followed.

"Well, it's not like I'm running for public office or anything," I added finally feeling a bit of an awkward vibe.

"You sure aren't now."

The sad thing is, he didn't even see the sign. But a bunch of people around me did, and one guy even asked if he could take a picture of me with the sign. It's probably out there somewhere floating around on the dude's Flickr or Photobucket account.

And to make up for the fact that I can never remember the set order, I have a surprise for y'all. Yep, snagged the setlist for once:

Friday, November 09, 2007

These are the people in my neighborhood

I paused for a second after blindly stumbling into my apartment. Something was off. Then I noticed, through my curtained windows it looked like it was dawn or dusk or a dreary overcast day when I know I was just outside and it was pitch dark.

I thought maybe I'd done the time warp by accident, but then remembered just moments ago being stopped by a film PA and remember that, oh yea, my building had been commandeered for a film shoot.

I didn't pay attention to the notices taped in the building because I figured it was for the outside, but when I left the house this morning to head off to work I saw the cars, trucks and trailers setting up for the beginning of their work day as well.

(The movie is "Push" if you're curious. Based on this book)

I'm actually mildly excited because I'd love to run into Mo'Nique. The woman hosted "Flava of Love: Charm School" for crying out loud. I need to ask her about that psycho Larissa. If she's really that evil or if it was just played up. I'm afraid already that if I see her I'll let out a "Heeeeeeeeeeyyy~" like from "The Parkers."

The funny thing is they sort of "ghetto'ed up" the building for the shoot, which basically consisted of just adding some removable graffiti...and that was it. HA. Seriously, I doubt they even have to mess much with the lighting.

I laugh because the this apartment, as well as the previous (both in the same neighborhood), I've had hard times describing. I'd usually go with saying, "Well, ever watch those old school New York movies? Like I don't know, 'Leon' or you know, even 'Ghostbusters' or 'Gloria' (not the one with Sharon Stone, this one)? Well, that's basically how the place looks. Like the quintessential 'New York' apartment with the creaky stairways and the old tiled floors and yellowing paint and all that. Like one of those 'on the verge of being ghetto, but not really' type of places? Just where all the people who aren't in 'Friends' or 'Sex and the City' live? Yea, that's my apartment building."

Though I must say those are the exact reasons why I do love my neighborhood and my own tiny corner of the universe that is this small ass apartment.

Also, I'm sorry for this, but as a Koreagro (personally, I prefer the terms "Blasian," and specifically "Blackrean"), I randomly dug up this clip while looking for old "Parkers" eps and I'm lovin' the flowchart:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

10/30/07 The Weakerthans @ Webster Hall

It's funny what good music can do to you. Interestingly the whole morning I was actually annoyed I had to go see The Weakerthans. I don't know what kind of funk had come over me, but I couldn't help but gripe to myself that I couldn't believe I was going. This is shocking since I consider The Weakerthans to be "the band that saved my life." Luckily enough, by the time they were to take the stage I was so excited that I forgot all about the funk I was in. As they played on it felt like I was cured of all the malaise of the past couple of days.

Webster Hall is as gaudy as ever. It looks like a Thelemite bought out a disco hall that died an ignoble death after hosting one too many club kid parties in the 90s and decided he was gonna go with "Opium den meets strip club run by whatever planet Daft Punk presumes to be from." I overheard a mom (cutely) comment to her daughter, "Wow, they must be getting ready for Halloween."

Oh, if only you knew, lady, if only you knew. I mean, there were some Halloween type decor added to the place, but quite honestly it was pretty minimal and flimsy. The crazy you see, is the crazy that's always there. The gold relief with like Buddha wrestlin' with a scorpion and shit? That's there all year round.

I stared at the "you're old enough to drink" wristbands we'd gotten and noticed that it was "Wristcutters" themed. I just saw that movie recently as an early release and rather liked the premise of it, but wasn't sure if I was too keen on the ending or the film's entirety for that matter. Your "punishment" for suicide is to go to an afterlife that is no different from your current except slightly worse? Interesting and pretty smart. The look of them film? Slightly washed out and the character makeup/costumes were intriguing because there was the pallor of death about them. It was noticeable, but not overdone like, I don't know, the waiting room scene from "Beetlejuice." Very low-key in a way that I thought was cool. The characters? Thought they were pretty neat too, especially since like the whole pallor of death makeup you see them separate from their suicides. Besides, one of the characters is based off of Eugene Hutz and they use songs performed by Gogol Bordello in the movie. Just in the film though and not in the original story from what I learned later, which makes me curious as to why and how and all that. It makes me think that the filmmaker was either a great fan or a great friend of Eugene Hutz. But my impression of the film overall? Slightly underwhelming.

But enough on that derail. The point was I thought to myself, "Wristband for 'Wristcutters'? Ha, pretty genius."

Jim Bryson from Ottawa opened, and let me just say that the man has a fantastic voice. He was pulling double duty both as opening act and support for The Weakerthans. He had great stage banter, talking from everything about the new hat he had purchased while in the neighborhood as well as being confused by running into costumed people and even joking about how this was his first paying U.S. gig as a performer. He attributed his banter to nerves, but if that's nerves talking being nervous does wonders for him because he seemed like a genuinely nice and funny guy.

He jumped back and forth between two mics and switched a bit between playing his guitar and playing a keyboard. He even had a harmonica ready, but then sheepishly explained, "I always forget to put it on before I play and it creates for awkward moments." During certain intervals of songs he quipped affably, "This would be a moment when the harmonica would be nice to have.

Though Jason Tait jumped in for certain songs, Bryson got some audience participation going for rhythm on some of the songs, using a combination of the drum machine and audience clapping for "Fallen Leaves." He even managed to get a venue full of people to fade out. For another song he pulled up some audience members to play eggs and branched out to other shaking instruments as more than the intended amount of volunteers came up. He promised that some volunteers would have to do something, "They might not like doing," and as soon as the last of them came on stage, he explained, "You see, I got some gifts for purchasing my hat today..."

He pulled out some animal masks and handed them to some of the participants explaining, "This will be cool. It'll be like Flaming Lips light."

I particularly liked "Pissing on Everything" as well as "Sleeping in Toronto." And I must say I like how he sounds live more than how he sounds when I hear recorded versions. Probably why I'm going to try and make it to The Living Room and listen to him live when he's back in town in a week or so.

The next act was Last Town Chorus. Another act with a decent voice heading it and a chick on lap steel. On paper something I loved, but overall wasn't my bag. It was a good set, and the voice was decent as in pretty, but not something I'd personally listen to all the time.

Cover of "Modern Love" was well-done. And I really liked "It's Not Over." It was the last song to round out the set and Jim Bryson, Greg Smith and Stephen Carroll came out to join in.

I listened to the song again on Myspace. It's a remixed version. Good, but the version I heard live was great. It was lush and the instrumental was particularly haunting. Unfortunately, there's no way of recreating the version that was played that evening.

The Weakerthans finally took the stage and I was giddy as a little girl. They had these round filters/drum skin looking things illuminated from the back, and with the starry night look the back of the stage took when all the lights were off it was kind of a nice look. Looked like a bunch of full moons, or it felt kind of like a late summer/early autumn night standing out under the stars. Great set, with two encores. One of the great things about watching The Weakerthans play is how happy John K. Samson looks just to be playing. He just always looks happy and grateful that people even showed up to the show.

My funk had totally dissipated and I was happily singing along to every song. AND they played "Pamphleteer" for the second encore. I was so happy. I almost cried. No correction, I did cry. I wasn't bawling, but tears were definitely present. Especially when they broke it down with an extended instrumental at the end. I don't know, music does that to you. As soon as I'd hear the opening chords for one song, then another, it'd just take me back. It's weird, I've only been out of school for a little over two years and it already feels like a million years ago. It reminded me of how back in college, late one night I was watching some SNL rerun or best of. It was REM performing "What's the Frequency" and in a split second I was transported back to those summers when I'd sit outside during summer break armed with a book and a walkman and listen to it all day and all night.

Anyway, it made me look up the old photo I took with John K. Samson in front of Logan Square Auditorium a couple of years back (Man, I can't believe that show was a couple of years ago). I look different. Hell, he looks different. We ALL look different. It was a little jarring. I dug up pictures of me and shared them with Kelly only to have her reaction be "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA OMG WHO THE HELL ARE YOU???" And I had to laugh too because, really, I didn't realize until then how different I look now. You think you won't change with the years and you feel like you're in the same place, but you just aren't.

And I'm going to end with this. Is it just me, or did John K. look like Thom Yorke at certain angles thanks to the scruffiness he was sporting?

Monday, November 05, 2007

It means you're doing it right

Still VERY stiff and sore from the weekend and definitely bruise-y in some parts. Will update on the week(end) soon-ish, but the live show November train is still full speed ahead. Finally broke in uncomfortable shoes, destroyed a pair of tights and all is right with the world.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"A little BRIT different..."

First off, I dislike that tagline. BBC-A loves that shit, but it's, "eh" to me. I mean it's punny and quite honestly I'm not that hung up on it, but recently I've been seeing the promos for BBC-A's World News America and now it's making me really annoyed with that tagline. I'm not saying these are exact quotes, but basically here's how it goes. So it's Matt Frei and he's explaining journalism like he's talking to a bunch of kindergartners on Career Day, "You interview as many people as possible so you can get the most information, then you..."

Then you what? What is it that you do Matt Frei?

" interpret it, give it analysis so that someone in America can understand and relate."

...huh. You don't say.

No, I'm not going to tear into Frei about how that seems to imply that Americans are retards that need to be spoon-fed news or something. That's not what annoys me. What annoys me is, why? If you've got an American audience already watching BBC-A, obviously they ARE looking for something "a little Brit different." Then why the hell would they care that Matt Frei is making sure they get what he's talking about? And what the hell does that even mean? That it's BBC news for an American audience? I can see some practicalities. Maybe using dollar amounts instead of pounds is one example. Or I guess maybe staying away from using really obscure British slang words or something? Though I'd suppose in a formal newscast stuff like that would be kept down to a minimum. But the point is, people watching this want BBC news. Am I being too harsh? I suppose, but it just gets to me each time I see it.

It's like each time before a program they do that little weird bumper close-captioning bumpers where they're all, "In the following program, you might hear some accents you would be hearing more if you hadn't dumped our tea into Boston Harbor." No, really, that's a direct quote. It was funny the first time. Now? Not so much. It's getting on my last damn nerve. I get it. I'm watching BBC. It's British. They talk with accents. Dear Lord, just let me fucking watch "Top Gear" in peace. I mean, I'm the last person to be against joking about cultural differences amongst friends, but this "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" business that BBC-A is beating people over the head with is really as annoying as the Eric Idle character. Godammit, I like you fine, British people, but you need to tell BBC-A to cut that shit out.