Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sick Day

Yesterday I took my first legit sick day off of work in almost two years. I've taken plenty of days off from work but it's usally to do things like work on school projects or leave town early for long weekends. This was a fully justified day off and I realized that I need to do this more often. Having a day off in the middle of the week to essentially do nothing is fantastic. When not in the lavatory coping with whatever disatrous food item I ate on Tuesday, I laid around on the couch watching bad television, surfed the internet, and even managed to get down a few new guitar parts for an upcoming show. A highly productive day all while suffering some GI malady.

The best part is that I'm feeling well and back in the office today reinvigorated (it helps that it's Thursday which is practically Friday as far as I'm concerned). Hell I was feeling well enough last to meet up with some friends in from out of town. And that of course is the ultimate litmus test on the road to recovery. Are you well enough to eat Pad Thai and drink several heavy stouts? Not the smartest idea (although the two doctors I was with didn't haven any objection but they just wanted me to drink) but if so, congratulations you're gonna live.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Quote of the Day

From a Godfrey Cheshire review of the Jennifer Jason Leigh film Georgia (1995):

"[Sadie] wants to be a singer but doesn't have the voice (it's poetic license, I guess, that this is supposed to matter in present-day Seattle).

Shakin' the Sheets

An all-around good weekend. Friday night once again saw the masterful Ted Leo in town and playing at the Black Cat. I can't get enough of his live shows. His last two albums have been fantastic and hearing that material performed at a frenetic pace with such enthusiasm actually makes me feel just a little bit younger. One of my favorite tracks on the last album, Shake the Sheets, is called "Walking to Do." I've been disappointed the he hasn't played it at the last couple of shows mostly because it's got a cool call-and-response thing happening at the end and I'm a sucker for cheesey shit like that.

Well, finally on Friday night I got to hear it live. The best part of it being that there are some mumbly lyrics at the end of the song that I never paid attention to because they are right after Ted does this lit scat gibberish and my mind tends to wander lyrically anyway. Earlier in the evening I was talking to my buddy about how I was hoping to hear this song and he agreed because he loves the lyric at the end; the mumbly one I never picked up on. Now I've been listening to this album non-stop for over a year and I never noticed that in one of my favorite songs where Ted is singing about walking between various locales he calls out "from Rock Creek Park, to the Ave., and on past the zoo..." I need to pay closer attention in the future so when one of your favorite artists is shouting out local landmarks I can pick up on it. Anyway, great show.

The night was made even better by the fact that we went down to Gallery Place to watch the George Mason/Wichita State game before the show and although I wasn't inside the Verizon Center I was as physically close to the action as possible when GMU won their Sweet 16 game. Add that to Sunday's victory over UCONN (where we were once again back at the same bar) and it was very good weekend. Except for the fact that a guy tried to sell us tix outside the stadium Sunday for $100 each and we turned him down. I should have spent the money.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The End

Well my 3 weeks is up and what started as a fling, grew into something more, and ended as a fling is officially over. After knowingly getting involved with someone I knew was going to be moving awayI find myself staring out into the future once again wondering what the hell it is I am doing with my life. It was a strange set of circumstances, these past few weeks, where I would off-and-on experience little flashes of meaningful relationship potential while knowing that it was fleeting and merely a glimpse of better things out there. It drove me nuts at times and in other moments was incredible. (I think I'm becoming a believer in the philosophies of dualism.)

Stirring up your emotions so radically and in such a short period of time leaves you disoriented but in a way makes you more cognizant of and excited about what is out there. I've certainly been shaken from the static grind of what I've been up to for the last year or so. I'm uneasy about where I will end up in the next few months (residentially, occupationally, and existentially speaking) but I feel envigorated knowing change is on the horizon. Of course it all could turn out to be a huge disaster but I doubt it. I've lived a fairly charmed life up until this point and I'm pretty sure that I'm in the black when it comes to my positive karma levels.

This post really isn't going anywhere other than serving as an opportunity for me to gush/vent. Let me conclude by saying that I cannot wait for Opening Day. Spring, rebirth, and all makes sense.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I found out this morning that yesterday's birthday lament marked the 100th posting for this little blog of mine. Perhaps I should have been paying closer atttention to the post counter on my Blogger login and maybe I would have written something more appropriately festive.

Regardless, I do find it a little bit ironic that Number 100 was all about another round-numbered milestone. Not that either of them really matter. What really is the difference between 100 and 101 or 262? It's just a number that happens to look sexy on US currency. So with that in mind, maybe encroaching on 30 isn't such a big deal either. Just another number.

Indeed. I like this sunnier outlook much more than yesterday's fatalism. I think I will try being an optimist for a while.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Time Marches On

Well, I had to update the age in my little profile blurb this morning. As of yesterday I am now 29 years old and staring point-blank down the barrel of 30. I have no idea how this happened. When I was a kid I never thought I would be 30 years old. Not in any "live fast, die young" fatalistic sense but rather it was something that I could not even imagine. Now however I can envision it with startling clarity.

Being 29 means that I have one year left. One year in which I can still blame youth for my stupid mistakes and selfish liberties. One last year to refer to myself as being in my "late twenties" if I sense I am among ageists. One final year to say "fuck it" and worry about the big stuff (home, career, love, family) after baseball season.

I plan on enjoying myself this summer and spending as much of my free time as possible going to Nats games, drinking with my friends, and generally taking advantage of the forthcoming warm weather (it is the first day of Spring after all). It's the last hoorah for the residents of Never Never Land so we might as well go out with bang. And after that...we'll have to wait and see.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Defining Marriage

I just read yet another confusing Charles Krauthammer op-ed in today's WaPo and felt the need to comment. Krauthammer loves stirring the pot with his social observations but I can never understand where he's coming from. Sometimes I think he just straddles the fence for the sake of instigation.

Anyway, today's piece is on ploygamy and how some activist groups conside the legitimization of gay marriage as the logical preceing step to recognizing polygamous or polyamorous relationships. I don't necessarily buy into that logic but for me it really doesn't matter. In instances such as this I retreat to my standard argument, why does the goverment need to be in the business of defining marriage in the first place? What logical practical purpose does this activity serve?

Ultimately the "definition" of marriage should be left up to the people for whom it matters; churches, communities, individuals and so on. If a church/religion wants to view marriage exclusively as the holy union between a man and a woman so be it. It is their right to discriminate among the devotees of their faith. If two men and their friends and family wish to view marriage as a lifelong committment between two loving individuals, please do so. In the end marriage only affects those who participate in the couples' lives. (Is there really any harm done to a god-fearing Baptist family in the midwest when two gay individuals living on the East Coast get married?) It is the fact that the government has decided to bestow a selective and yet seemingly arbitray status among certain groups of people that creates this tension.

If there were no license or taxation involved in marriage would there even be a debate anymore?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ides of March

I feel obligated to write something today and namedrop the old ides lest I lose any of my postmodern referential credibility. I was simply going to mention it off-hand however the Ides of March do have a bit of ominous applicability to my current goings on.

Although I haven't written about it yet, the last two weeks have been a swirl of emotions dealing with a new relationship that is about to abruptly end due to circumstances beyond the control of both parties. We both knew from the beginning that she was about to move away for career purposes but I had no idea I would develop such intense feelings so quickly. Now all I think of is bad timing and missed opportunities. The closer we get to the date of her departure, the heavier the looming dread weighs on my mind.

Like Caesar I had been warned and like him as well I pressed on with utter abandon. The Liberatores' daggers are not far behind...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Battlestar Galactica

I've made a promise to myself and my friends that I would stop defending this show in public debates but it annoys me that people automatically assume that if something has a sci-fi descriptor then it must be on par with Plan 9 From Outter Space or The Trouble With Tribbles when in fact, science fiction can be the most challenging and engaging of storytelling mediums. Battlestar is a perfect example of this but everytime I try to express that fact I come off sounding like a geek and ultimately end up doing the show a disservice.

Anyway, I finally got around to watching Friday's season finale and it just blew me away. I think if people actually gave the series a chance they would find it just as compelling as I do. It is not a stretch to say that Battlestar Galactica is deeper, more intellegent, more riveting, and in some ways more realistic than other suspense/action/dramas like 24, Lost, or Alias.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Boot

One of the more tumultuous months of my life has taken yet another brilliant turn as last week my roommate and I received our eviction notice informing us to vacate the property by 1 May. Fan-fucking-tastic.

It seems that after 2+ years of happy residency in North Arlington, the all-consuming wave of gentrification sweeping across the region has finally found its way to our quaint Ballston neighborhood of post-war ramblers. What is already an interesting street of classic boomer generation architecture will now be replete with several new McMansions courtesy of a regional high-end developer. Three months ago the good people of Yeonas and Ellis LLC bought 9 lots on my street including our 900 sqft, 2 bedroom, one bath, square brick rambler on a concrete slab. The transacted price for this enormous Cribs-worthy residence of mine was $500k. That's right, about 10 times its actual value in any market other than DC-Metro. But I'm not bitter. Just disappointed.

It's a fantastic neighborhood in a great area so it is no surprise that demand for properties has gone through the roof over the last several years. This is the way the free market works and if I have to move because of it, c'est le vie. The real problem is that this forthcoming move forces me to make some immediate decisions about what the hell it is I am going to be doing with my remaining years.

More than likely, my roommate will be taking the next step with his girlfriend and moving on to bigger and better things. I was content to go on renting with him indefinitely, but now that he's out of the picture I don't have the energy to break in a new roommate. It's time for this man-child to finally grow up a bit and get a place all his own. Unfortunately, at the current pad, we are paying next to nothing in rent. It really has been a sweet deal considering all of the lcoational amenities for people of our age. I'm certainly not moving out of the area which means that given how much I'm willing to spend on rent and the constraints on locations in which I will be satisfied to lay my hat, I'm looking at a studio or small 1-BR apartment in one of the older complexes in Arlington. And even that will still cost several hundred over what I'm paying now. It's not the end of the world but seeing as I'm leaving a single-family home with a yard, a driveway, and a quiet street there will certainly be an adjustment to be made. But that's not the real issue.

What's really going on is that this is yet another sign that I have got to get things shaken up. My very comfortable equilibrium of the last few years has been disrupted and that beast who just wants to "do something" has been awoken. Many of my friends are getting married, moving on, and basically finding their groove in life. Up until now we've all been having a lot of fun but with a bit of Eat, Drink, and be Merry nihilism. It was great while it lasted but I don't plan on being the last person at the party. So my only viable option is to find a respectable 12-month lease and use that time to chart my next course (apologies for the lame metaphors today). It's going to be an interesting time with a lot of question marks but here is what I do know:
  1. If I stay in the area it will either be in DC or Arlington. There's no way I'm moving back to Fairfax or Loudoun just beacuase it's barely more affordable.
  2. I will finally leave my job of 6 years.
  3. If something substantive doesn't come along to supplant my pre-30 malaise, I will pull up stakes and leave the region that I have called home for almost 20 years.
  4. I will still rock.

I guess that's it. Let the apartment hunt begin.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Clap your hands!

On Wednesday night I went to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the 9:30 Club. It was certainly the hipster event of the week because the tight jeans and horn-rimmed glasses were out in full effect at the show. Once again the 9:30 Club was sold out which seems to be happening more and more often. The shows also appear to be selling out faster which just didn't happen even a few years ago. It's good to know that more people are getting into music and going out to shows but I miss those days when the club would be at about 2/3 capacity. However I preminisce no return to the salad days.

Anyway I was very impressed with CYHSY. I've had the album for a little while now and it was very hyped last year making several critics' year-end "best of" lists. I didn't feel that strongly about it but there are some really nice tracks with a lot of good ideas. Live however, so much more of the album came to life that I was pleasantly surprised to find myself digging songs that I usually skip over on the album. The band utilizes a lot of driving beats and heavy rhythms layered over the melodic content. When you seem them live (especially in a place like the 9:30 with its incredible sound system) the rhythms are amplified creating a pulsing energy that really sets the show off.

The person I was with had never even heard the band before I gave her the album earlier this week. She gave it a lukewarm response noting the singer's nasally vocals but even she had the same reaction I did. There's just something about live music that will take an album from 2-D to 3-D and really change your perspective on it. So, I am now much more inclined to buy into the CYHSY hype given their ability to put on a "reallygoodshow."

-Ed Sullivan

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

3 weeks... can be a painfully long or short period of time. I guess it all depends on what happens on day 1 of Week 4.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I respectfully disagree

For some reason the WaPo's "rock" critic Mark Jenkins finds a way of getting under my skin in about half of his reviews. Today I am taking offense to a review of a show that I did not even attend so I know I am on very shakey ground. It wasn't a bad review per se, but to use the phrase "adequate simulations" when describing the New Pornographers (who opened up for the reigning kings of sad bastard music, Belle and Sebastian, last night and Sunday night at the 9:30 Club) will definitely make my ears perk up.

The New Porno's are certainly one of my favorite bands so I will always be biased in their favor. But I have seen two INCREDIBLE (no hyperbole here) performances by the band that left me giddy and swooning into the next day so I have a hard time believing they put on an adequate show on Sunday night. However they were without Neko Case so that may have had something to do with it but I have a sneaking suspicion that Mssr. jenkins was just taking a swipe at the indie pop darlings.

Now last night's show was webcast on so I'm hoping to find some time to listen and see for myself.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Intellectual Property Rights of Mix-CD's

I've had yet another Hornby-esque moment. This one could get a bit touchy but I had to ask myself what is the protocol for, how do I phrase this properly, re-utilizing the fundamental content of a Mix-CD. Settle down, now. I know that there is a lot of emotional effort/baggage that can go into creating the right playlist but let me explain myself first before anyone accuses me of something heinous.

Not too long I was asked by someone I was seeing at the time to introduce her to some new music. Being the complete tool that I am I said no problem and offered to make a sampler of sorts. This seemed like a worthwhile endeavor because a) I enjoy feeling superior to others when it comes to my musical taste and knowledge and b) in the back of my pathetic mind I was thinking it might be an opportunity for me to display my "excellence" - see: Tao of Steve - and further lure in the object of my affections. I certainly was not going to compile one of those creepy overly-revealing mixes that should never see the light of day but it still would have been a custom effort tailored to a specific individual's interests. You know, thoughtful.

Anyway, for the usual pedistrian and sadly common reasons things did not work out and I am left with the germ of a really good mix. So would it be tacky to use this unblossomed seed of a playlist down the road. Please be aware that no tracklist was specifically created. In fact there aren't even any songs yet for said mix. All I have is a list of bands in my head that I thought would make for a good introduction into the specific twists and turns of my music library. Nothing more than that. But the more I think about, it could potentially grow into a pretty kick-ass disc. Should I just throw away that idea? Remember, it's just an idea. No end-product was ever customeized for a speciifc gal.

I'm thinking that maaaaybe it wouldn't be so bad if at some point in the future I pulled a playlist out of the list of bands I already have in mind. That's not so bad, right?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The food we eat

I do most of my grocery shopping at Harris Teeter and where I live in Arlington there are two Teeter's that are nearly equidistant from my house. One of them is a little farther away but is slightly more convenient because of the larger parking lot and less congested traffic patterns. The other one is a bit closer but driving in and out of there is a pain in the ass. Given those two factors alone, you would think I always shop at the less congested one. Wrong.

Indeed I do shop "convenient" one, but the hectic Teeter has something going for it as well, hotties. Lots of them. You see for some reason all of the hot twenty-something North Arlington ladies like to shop at the hectic Teeter (when they're not dropping serious coin at the Clarendon Whole Foods) and well because of that, so do I. It does make life a bit easier when you're driving home on a Monday, hungry, and realize that there is nothing edible at your house other than dried goods to know that even though you have to go to the grocery store there will at least be some eye candy. I'll usually linger there for a half-hour or so picking up groceries and taking several trips down extraneous aisles just checking out what's what. Some days are better than others but at a minimum the Teeter usually has free cookies by the front door for the kids which I eat every time. Because hey, free cookie.

Anyway, last night I was picking up some items at the hectic Teeter and I was in line behind an attractive professional-looking young lady. One of the things I've noticed during my years of Teeter shopping is that the women there all buy the same things. Sound like a broad generalization? Well it's true. This is what I saw in her cart and you tell me how far off my little theory is:
  • 8-10 yogurts
  • 2 bags of ready-made salad
  • 1 case of Diet Fresca (or some Fresca-like substance)
  • Various transparent bags of fruits
  • Individually-packaged baby carrots
  • 1 copy of either People or Us (same difference)
  • 1 jar of peanut butter

I'm telling you, on any given day you could find that shopping list in a hundred different purses in that grocery store. I'm just saying.

Now, to follow up on the yogurt thing. What's with all the yogurt? I like yogurt, in fact, I eat it for breakfast a couple times a week. But 10 yogurts among what looks like only a week's worth of groceries? I don't get it. I remember one time last year the Teeter had a special on Dannons for $0.25 per container. The refrigerated section looked like the Gobi Desert when I got there. It was completely barren. When I got to the checkout there were lines of girls with baskets and carts full of Dannon cups. I shit you not, I saw one girl dump 20 of them onto the belt. 20. I guess she likes yogurt.