Christmas mother blankin' eve and I'm at work. Dag.
Last night Gordon and I premiered our two man acoustical duo, The Flaming Horsemen of Imminent Doom, at TT the Bear's. We layed down a few Christmas grooves, drank some eggnog and whipped the crowd into a veritable yuletide frenzy. It was fun, but weird to be there without our mates Pete and Jordan who, besides being handsome, are also pretty darn good at rocking out. Oh well, next time.
I saw something very very funny last night. I was at McDonald's to comfort myself with nasty food after taking a poker ass-whipping not seen in these parts since Amarillo Slim beat Jimmy "Pickles" Preston in '32.
Anyway, ahead of me in line was a mother with her adorable three or four year old son. He was done up in the usual winter wear, heavy parka, gloves, sherlock holmes hat and lots and lots of boogers.
So, as the mother was arguing with the counterwoman about how much a happy meal actually costs, the kid looked up at me. I smiled, he smiled, and then turned away. Then he leaned towards the counter, which was level with his face, and started licking the hell out of it. I mean, he had full tongue extension and was wiping his open mouth all over the place. It was so gross and so funny I thought I was going to alternately be sick and pee my pants.
After a good lick, the kid looks back at me with an expression I can only describe as "yeah, I'm cool. did you see that? I just licked the counter, be-atch. Oh...and please don't tell on me." I gave him a look back that said "yo, we're cool."
On Saturday we took the rock show to an abandoned New York City. The place was literally a ghost town, with everyone off doing family things and missing the best damned rock show of their lives. Ok, that part isn't true. We were pretty tired and the show was downright mediocre, but what can you do?
Anywho, the true magic of the evening came not on stage, but on the ride down. We were stuck in traffic on the FDR when suddenly Jordan shouted "they're playing porn in that car!" We all though he was full of crap, but sure enough, when the car (a Ford expedition) passed us it was indeed showing porn on one of those on-board DVD players. And not soft-core porn either. This was in-your-face hard core porn, the kind that you watch with a mix of fascination, revulsion and the unshakeable feeling that what you're watching must have hurt a lot.
Now folks, I'm actually not that big a fan of pornography, but when the choice is between watching porno or listening to one of Brendo Frendo's inane stories, that I've heard a million times before, I go for the porno. So Pete maneuvered us into a prime postion behind the porn car and stuck to it's bumper like glue for the remaining half hour that we were in traffic. This arrangement worked well until Pete mentioned that he'd be much happier if they were instead showing re-runs of Rhoda, which made us all realize that we too would rather be watching Rhoda.
It was one of the more surreal experiences that has come with being in this band.
Last night we hit the basement to put some more polish on the diamond that is our New Year's to be rock spectacular. It's going to be sweet, I tell ya.
Anywho, other than that there isn't too much going on. I am steadily trying my sanity with my online poker playing. It wouldn't be so bad if I only played for a short time, but I end up playing far too long and go on what players call "tilt." Tilt is where you get so mad about taking a bad beat or by your inability to beat inferior players that you literally will bet on anything. This is, in a nutshell, a perfect primer on how to lose at gambling. At one point yesterday, if you had offered me ten dollars to hit myself in the head with a hammer, betting on my ability to survive, I would have taken you up on it...probably on the me-not-surviving side.
Luckily, I had to quit the game to go to band practice. And later on I won all my loot back, which was sweet, but there is a lesson learned - Tilt is not just for pinball anymore. Dag.
The season and this weather have been making my dreams even weirder than before, which is saying something. Last night I dreamed that Ladyfriend Sarah had somehow lost her parents and was in the process of choosing between a few potential new legal guardians. Now, LS is 27 years old, but that seemed unimportant in the dream. Anywho, it finally shook out that her new parents were to be this kindly, elderly Indonesian woman and....me. In the dream I got this news on the subway platform and immediately broke down in tears because I knew I had always wanted a daughter.
So, as many of you have commented "enough of this death and politics BS, get back to what's important." Fair enough...
As most people know, 12-Gauge and I are the OCD cases in the band. When we find something we like, we do it to absolute death until, like a rusty '72 Impala, it has been driven into the ground and is no longer interesting. We've burned through Monster Truck Madness on Nintendo, Ghost Recon on XBox, Scrabble, bike riding, band stickering and your mother (not really).
Anyway, the new obsession is poker. We've been eating, sleeping, dreaming poker for a couple weeks now. For instance, yesterday I got off work early and headed home. When I got there Pete and I played online poker for five and a half hours. Then we had band rehearsal. You'd think we'd be burned out, but we headed right back upstairs for another few rounds. We were so wrapped up in the game that we forgot to eat dinner and went to bed hungry. Also, and I'm not proud of this, at one point I really needed to go to the bathroom but I was in the middle of a tournament. Luckily a solution came along. We have wireless internet access at the rock house and, well, you guessed it. Ewwwwwwww.
Maybe its because my feet are soaking wet from walking through all this slush, or perhaps it's because I had to come to work this morning after convincing myself I would get a snow day, but I'm cranky.
And so, in order to not lose my hard-won cool at the office, I will vent my crankiness on this weekend's top news story - THE CAPTURE OF SADDAM!!!!!
I'm glad that Saddam will be going to jail for his years of persecution of his people and his untold crimes against humanity. However, in the grand scheme of things, WHO THE FUCK CARES? I mean, it constantly amazes me how much of an appetite for spin the American people have. We are like the abnoxious ADD kid in class and distorted images of ourselves are our ritalin.
The Saddam capture and the hoopla and back slapping surrounding it has allowed us to forget one very major fact - to get to this point the United States leadership tricked the American people into believing there was an imminent nuclear threat from Iraq, invaded a sovereign nation to the tune of hundreds of American and thousands of Iraqi lives and added further fuel to the fire of anti-Americanism in the Middle East. Sweet.
When I first heard the news I was reminded of a Chris Rock routine about people who brag about things they really shouldn't, like the guy who walks around shouting out "I take care of my kids". Then (in Chris Rock voice) "You're supposed to take of your kids!! You don't get no medal for that!" I just imagine George Bush walking around like "Yes sir, I got him. Go me." To which (again in Chris Rock voice) "Ya didn't need to go get him, ya damn fool!"
It may have been miserably cold and rainy out last night, but inside the Middle East it was the epitome of rock and roll toasty.
-We rolled in just as our new best friends The Charms were kicking the rock machine into high gear. Friends, these cats are good, especially the guitar player. His name is also Joe and he's better than me by a mile. I hate him for this, but he's a nice guy so I like him for that. Cognitive dissonance.
-We debuted a couple new numbers for us, one of which went swimmingly, one of which was a disaster. Which was which? I'm not sayin'.
-I immensely regretted my chinese dinner. Enough said.
-We loaded out over a snowbank, which was a first, and hopefully a last.
-I got so many electric shocks from my microphone that I am now listed as a viable power transformer in the new issue of New England Viable Power Transformers monthly.
Rock and roll. Now go get your tickets to see Scamper tonight at the Paradise. Off with you.
So, I try to never talk about politics in this journal. I am, by my own admission, hopelessly ill informed and naive, plus I'm not all that interested to be honest. The machinations of Washington D.C. rarely hit too close to home and when they do there's usually someone else to take care of it and protest for me. I'm very lazy.
However, I can't seem to get a handle on my growing rage about the way the current administration is handling itself. I honestly can't believe that no guerilla group hasn't tried to overthrow this awful "evil" administration yet. And it's starting to drive me crazy.
The thing that has got me in this mood today is the White House's repeated demand that John Kerry apologize for saying he didn't think Bush "would fuck it [Iraq] up as badly as he has." The childishness of this request and the constant attempt to spin people away from the fact that the country is going down the toilet is simply ridiculous.
First of all, to pretend that people don't say "fuck" or that you're shocked by the word is just silly. I guarantee George Bush says fuck at least 700 times a day. Everyone curses. So are we really to believe that when the people in the west wing heard Kerry say it they all went red in the face and ran to tell the principal? Are they four?
Plus, the word fuck has lost all of it's shock value. It is still a powerful word, but in this day and age fuck, shit, asshole etc. - all the old standbys - just don't do the trick any more. The only truly offensive words, in my mind, are racial slurs, and Kerry certainly didn't use one of them.
Additionally, the use of fuck was completely merited. Kerry could have said "did I think he'd mess it up like he has?" but then he would have sounded like someone describing a toddler's failed attempt at a Playdoh castle. No, he was right to say what he did, because he's talking about a man who has continuously lied to all of America and in so doing has caused the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of young Americans and Iraqis. And then the administration has the audacity to act shocked by this comment? If ever the word fuck should be used, describing matters of life and death is the time.
Maybe the White House needs to take a few minutes to figure out how the fuck they're going to staunch the wound that this "war" has become and spend a little less time acting like fucking two year olds. Fuck.
Arg. I am getting tired of the completely fury inducing ordeal that has become my morning commute. I have smelled more bad breath, farts and BO on the overcrowded trains this week than I have in two years of touring with the band - and believe you me, that's saying something.
Anyway, as I was riding the armpit in my face express this morning, trying to kill the time with the Metro, a story just popped out at me. It seems that "Buster", a cocker spaniel drug sniffing dog, is going to be given a medal for his exceptional service.
A medal. For a dog. How stupid is that? He's a dog, folks. He has absolutely no use for a ceremony or a medal. I mean if you want to reward someone for infringing on personal freedoms, at least honor the guy who trained the dog.
Later in the article it said that the medal Buster is getting is the dog equivalent to the Victoria Cross. Two things: 1) how dumb do you feel now if you have the Victoria Cross, knowing that there's a dog equivalent? 2) this implies that there are lots of doggie medals. Now, I might not be the most worldly fella, but did I somehow fail to realize that we live in a society where there needs to be a canine version of every honor and award?
Finally, there was a text of last years acceptance speech by Spot:
"woof, woof woof, bark. (ass sniff) Owwwwwwwwwwwwlliiiii arf barkk woof woof growl. (short break for peeing on the podium) Arf bark bark woof.
Thank you all again. I'll be here all week. Try the veal."
Life is tough in Boston right now. It's cold, wet and impossible to get around. I live at the bottom of a hill and just getting to my house has required me to become the Somerville sidewalk equivalent of Johnny Moseley. My point? Winter...er...how do you say?....sucks.
However, this morning I realized that my life is better than the thankless life of a T conductor. It's got to be hard on a person when no one ever believes a word you say. For example, I was standing on the crowded Porter Square platform this morning when a full train pulled up. Despite the pleas of the conductor to wait for the three empty trains he assured us were right behind us, everyone of course got on his train, plunging us all into a five minute "the door's of the train must be closed for us to leave the station, please clear the doors" ordeal.
I was standing there on the train thinking "idiots, just wait for the next train, do you think he's lying?" when I realized that I of course was a full fledged member of that same idiot club. I mean, the conductor could have told us all that the next three trains were full of willing nubile virgins, billions of dollars and crystal meth and still no one would have waited.
Now, you all know my job makes me insane, but I think if I had to be that train conductor I would go postal in about one and a half nanoseconds.
After a three day hibernation where my only intellectual sustinence was Cable TV, and my only nutrition came from candy and Diet Coke, I write to you as a broken man.
I often wonder when I stand there peeing how long I could live in just a bathroom or similar small enclosed space without going absolutely "stab the neighbors, try to return pineapples to the video store" crazy. I usually think I could hold out for a while, but people, I'm wrong.
Three days of confinement in a large apartment and I was starting to relate to Nicholson in The Shining, culminating in the point last night where I was screaming and dancing in the kitchen, debating which things I wanted to set on fire.
This morning was notably for one very special reason - I happened upon the single worst version of "Jingle Bells" I have ever heard in my life.
Now that may not seem like much, but think about it. You and I have heard Jingle Bells maybe ten billion times in our lives. We've heard it done instrumentally by guitar geeks, by horrible children's choirs and from drunk old bums in the street - but none of these versions could touch what I saw this morning.
It happened in the Porter Square T station. This guy (who, in his defense, looked more than a little dazed (and by dazed I mean stone cold drunk)) was beating mercilessly on an out of tune kettle drum accompanied by a drum machine.
This probably still sounds like it wouldn't produce the worst version of Jingle Bells ever. You're prolly saying to yourself "I admit that a drunk guy wailing on an out of tune kettle drum might produce a bad version of Jingle Bells, but the worst ever?" Just wait.
So, the drum machine is set to an eighties style hip hop beat, a hip hop beat that the drummer is paying absolutely no heed to. I mean, none. Zero. He's playing to some rhythm for sure, but it sure isn't audible to the rest of us.
And now the kicker. The only notes of the song that are in key with each other are "jingle-all-the-way." This sucks because each time he gets to that part you think he's going to pull it out and get back on track. No such luck, he always follows it up with an "oh what fun it is to ride" section that is literally random notes.
Still not the worst version ever? Halfway through I don't know....his eighteenth chorus?... he stopped and burped. I kid you not.
Worst Jingle Bells ever.
PS. Thanks to the Nelson girls, Shannon and Jessie for making it out to the Blackstone last night. You, in a word, rock.
Rehearsing in the winter is hard. Really hard. And it's not just because there are less gigs to look forward to or that we all get down in the dumps because the sun goes down so early. Those things do factor in, but the main reason it sucks is because it's so cold.
You see, people, we practice in an unheated, uninsulated basement. This is great in the summer, when our rehearsal space becomes a cool rock oasis. But in the winter it's just brutal.
On rehearsal nights you'll find us all huddled in my living room, above the space, thinking up any reason not to have to go into that cellar. Eventually we do go of course, but even then it's not without preparation. Pete and I always throw on extra sweaters and wool hats, Gordon wears gloves with the fingers cut out and Jordan wraps himself in a warm cloak of his own sexual magnetism.
Last night I had a special post-birthday birthday extravaganza at ..... McDonald's!!!! I felt like I was 8 years old again, except that the bastards behind the counter wouldn't give me and my cronies little birthday hats.
Anywho, besides that little inconvenience it was a really good time....except, well, except that I thought maybe Grimace might make an appearance and he didn't. But besides that it ruled.
After Mickey Dee's we wended our way to Ladyfriend Sarah's house for some post dinner games. I had to take cold medicine at this point and so much of the rest of the night is a blur, although I will say that if you find yourself in a group playing a charades-esque game, don't use John Updike or Falco as topics. Please. Do it for me...
So I'm still being punk'd by this stupid cold, but I'm maintaining my sanity with round after round of dayquill.
I love this stuff. I honestly love it. Why, you might ask? Well, despite Dayquill's assertion that it is non-drowsy and non-impairing, it is actually anything but. Dayquill will put your ass in la-la land for at least a couple hours and when I have a nasty sore throat and headache that is exactly where I want to be. Why suffer through a day of sneezing and coughing when you can spend your time wondering if the file cabinet in your peripheral vision really just moved?
So let's raise our glass to the people at Vick's. They do a fine job over there.
(Sorry for the lame ass journal, but not only am I sick, I am also swamped at work. arg.)
I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I had a great one myself, but now find myself in a post-tryptophan hangover with a case of the sniffles to boot.
Getting a cold sucks. I hate everything about it. But I especially hate that colds tend to be sneaky little bastards who like to serruptitiously creep up on you. For instance, yesterday I was watching the Patriots and felt a tingle, just a tingle mind you, in my chest. It could have been anything, so I continued to enjoy the game and eventually forgot about it. A couple hours later there was a cough, a cough that had a little more body to it than your normal run of the mill cough. This also wouldn't have aroused suspicion except that while my body was racking from the cough I realized I was kind of achy. I found myself thinking "What the.......?"
At that point it became like the sick version of punk'd. I could almost hear Ashton Kutcher scream "He's on to us, drop the hammer!" because immediately after I felt the ache a fever and sore throat descended on me liike a plague of locusts. For the rest of the night it was a sneezing, wheezing, nyquil taking romp through phleghmville.